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Heart Valve Problems: Aortic Insufficiency

Aortic insufficiency means your aortic valve has problems closing. Blood leaks back through the valve. Extra blood may cause the ventricle to stretch. A stretched ventricle doesn’t squeeze as well. In time, the heart won’t move blood the way it should.

Possible causes

People with aortic insufficiency can be born with the problem, and often feel no symptoms. Or, the aortic valve may have been damaged by rheumatic fever or a heart infection.

Top view of closed aortic valve with insufficiency.
Closed aortic valve with insufficiency (viewed from above). The valve does not close all the way, allowing blood to leak backward.
Cross section of heart showing aortic valve with insufficiency.

Treating aortic insufficiency

Your doctor may prescribe medications. These can make it easier for the heart to move your blood. To treat severe insufficiency, heart valve surgery may be suggested, especially if you develop symptoms.

Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.
Online Medical Reviewer: Larson, Kim APRN, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 2/20/2014
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