Signs & symptoms of heart valve leakage

Written by stephanie mojica
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Heart valve leakage can occur when the organ's mitral valve does not close tightly. This can cause blood to flow backward into your heart, and it is sometimes called mitral valve regurgitation. Serious cases of heart valve leakage can require surgery or result in fatal heart failure. Many symptoms indicating possible mitral valve regurgitation exist, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Heart Murmur

A heart murmur, usually detected by a doctor during a checkup, can be a first sign of valve leakage, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is when blood flows turbulently through your heart, creating an abnormal sound that a doctor can hear when listening to your heart with a stethoscope.


Shortness of breath with exertion is a possible indicator of heart valve leakage, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some people also may experience shortness of breath even when doing simple tasks such as lying down. This can indicate a potentially serious case of mitral valve regurgitation. Fatigue when going through daily activities, such as grocery shopping, is another symptom associated with heart valve leakage.

Other Symptoms

Several other symptoms can indicate a leaky heart valve, according to the Mayo Clinic. These include excessive urination, swollen feet or ankles and feeling lightheaded. Coughing, especially at night or when lying down, also is a sign of mitral valve regurgitation. Finally, heart palpitations---an abnormally rapid heartbeat---might mean a leaky valve.

Heart Failure Signs

It is possible to have heart valve leakage for decades and not realise it, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some people won't have adverse effects; others may experience heart failure. This is usually when many symptoms start happening. Heart failure symptoms include shortness of breath, fluid build-up in the joints and excessive fatigue. When the heart can't effectively pump enough blood to the body due to a leaky valve, this can lead to heart failure, which can be fatal.

Other Potential Health Complications

Several other potentially serious health problems can occur from advanced cases of heart valve leakage, according to the Mayo Clinic. One is atrial fibrillation, which is when the heart's upper chambers beat erratically. This can create blood clots that travel to the brain, causing a possibly fatal stroke. Another health issue resulting from a severe case of heart valve leakage is endocarditis, an infection of your heart's lining. Pulmonary hypertension---high blood pressure affecting only the lungs---can also result from mitral valve regurgitation.

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