Aortic valve regurgitation is the backflow of blood from the aorta
through the aortic valve into the left ventricle. If enough blood flows back
into the heart, it can increase the workload on the left ventricle (lower left
chamber), causing damage.
When the heart pumps, the aortic valve opens to let oxygen-rich
blood flow from the left ventricle into the aorta. When the heart rests
between beats, the aortic valve closes to keep blood from flowing backward into
the heart. In aortic valve regurgitation, the aortic valve does not close
properly. With each heartbeat, some of the blood pumped into the aorta leaks
back (regurgitates) through the faulty valve into the left ventricle.
Medical therapy may delay or minimize the damage caused by aortic
valve regurgitation. In some cases, surgery to replace the valve is needed, to
avoid damage to the heart chambers and to keep an adequate blood flow to the
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
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