The heart has four valves that regulate the blood flow into and out of the heart. Heart valves can get damaged over time leading to leaky or narrow heart valves. It is essential to identify these symptoms of leaky heart valves so that treatment can be started soon. The common types of heart valve problems include aortic stenosis, mitral regurgitation, and tricuspid regurgitation. Heart valves are like doors between two chambers that open and close at the right time so that blood does not flow back and continues to flow in the right direction. The heart has four valves – the tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve on the right side, and the mitral and aortic valve on the left side.
Symptoms of leaky heart valves
- Shortness of Breath and Leg Swelling are the most common symptoms of leaky heart valves. The similar
- Chest pain
- Passing out
- Weight gain due to leg swelling
Causes of narrow and leaky heart valves
- Age-related calcification of the valves
- Rheumatic fever
- Congenital deformity of the valves
- Heart attack
- Congestive heart failure
How heart valve problems are diagnosed?
Your doctor will like to do a thorough examination of your chest to look for signs of heart valve disease. To confirm the diagnosis your cardiologist might advise you to undergo some tests like:
- Echocardiogram: for this test, a small handheld probe will be put on your chest by the doctor; this probe produces sound waves that help in visualizing the heart with its chambers and valves. This test also helps the doctor evaluate the flow of blood through the chambers. The severity of the murmur can be assessed by this test.
- Chest X-ray: to assess the position and size of your heart
- Electrocardiogram: small leads will be placed on your chest to record the electrical activity of the heart. The reading of an electrocardiogram tells your doctor about the rate and rhythm of your heart in addition to the health of the different chambers of your heart.
- Blood work: like BNP to check for fluid build up in the body.
- Heart Catheterisation: This test is done to check for blockages in heart arteries or pressures inside the heart.
Valvular heart disease treatment
Your Cardiologist will treat primary medical problems like hypertension and infection. There are no specific medications to treat valves. The problems are generally treated with open-heart surgery to replace or repair the valve. Some valve problems like mitral regurgitation and aortic stenosis can be fixed via a nonsurgical approach in some patients.