Heart Valve Problems: Aortic Insufficiency

Aortic insufficiency is also known as aortic valve regurgitation. It 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.

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.

Possible causes

Most common causes include:

  • Older age

  • Heart valve infection

  • Valve problem at birth (congenital)

  • Genetic syndromes such as Marfan syndrome

  • Inflammatory diseases

  • Injury

  • Diseases that affect the aorta itself

  • High blood pressure

There may be other causes of aortic valve insufficiency.

Treating aortic insufficiency

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines. These can make it easier for the heart to move your blood. To treat severe aortic insufficiency, heart valve surgery may be needed, especially if you develop symptoms.

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