Aortic insufficiency is heart valve disease in which the aortic valve weakens or balloons, preventing the valve from closing tightly. This leads to backward flow of blood from the aorta (the largest blood vessel) into the left ventricle (the left lower chamber of the heart).
Your risk of Aortic valve regurgitation is greater if you have been affected by one of the following:
- Aortic valve damage - Inflammation associated with certain conditions such as endocarditis or rheumatic fever.
- Hypertension - High blood pressure may stretch the root of the aorta where the valve sits. The leaflets no longer meet, resulting in leakage.
- Congenital Heart Disease - If you were born with a malformed aortic valve.
- Age - As people age, some aortic valve regurgitation can occur through natural deterioration
- Disease - Certain conditions including Marfan's Syndrome and Ankylosing Spondylitis may cause the aorta not to widen, resulting in a leaky valve.
- Chest pain under the sternum may radiate; crushing, squeezing, pressure, tightness; pain increases with exercise, relieves with rest.
- Shortness of breath and fainting
- Irregular, rapid, racing, pounding, or fluttering pulse