Learn About Aortic Regurgitation

What is the definition of Aortic Regurgitation?

Aortic regurgitation is a heart valve disease in which the aortic valve does not close tightly. This allows blood to flow from the aorta (the largest blood vessel) into the left ventricle (a chamber of the heart).

Aortic insufficiency
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What are the alternative names for Aortic Regurgitation?

Aortic valve prolapse; Aortic insufficiency; Heart valve - aortic regurgitation; Valvular disease - aortic regurgitation; AI - aortic insufficiency

What are the causes of Aortic Regurgitation?

Any condition that prevents the aortic valve from closing completely can cause this problem. When the valve does not close all the way, some blood comes back each time the heart beats.

When a large amount of blood comes back, the heart must work harder to force out enough blood to meet the body's needs. The left lower chamber of the heart widens (dilates) and the heart beats very strongly (bounding pulse). Over time, the heart becomes less able to supply enough blood to the body.

In the past, rheumatic fever was the main cause of aortic regurgitation. The use of antibiotics to treat strep infections has made rheumatic fever less common. Therefore, aortic regurgitation is more commonly due to other causes. These include:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Aortic dissection
  • Congenital (present at birth) valve problems, such as bicuspid valve
  • Endocarditis (infection of the heart valves)
  • High blood pressure
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Reiter syndrome (also known as reactive arthritis)
  • Syphilis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Trauma to the chest

Aortic insufficiency is most common in men between the ages of 30 and 60.

What are the symptoms of Aortic Regurgitation?

The condition often has no symptoms for many years. Symptoms may come on slowly or suddenly. They may include:

  • Bounding pulse
  • Chest pain similar to angina (rare)
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations (sensation of the heart beating)
  • Shortness of breath with activity or when lying down
  • Waking up short of breath some time after falling asleep
  • Swelling of the feet, legs, or abdomen
  • Uneven, rapid, racing, pounding, or fluttering pulse
  • Weakness that is more likely to occur with activity
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What are the current treatments for Aortic Regurgitation?

You may not need treatment if you have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. However, you will need to see a health care provider for regular echocardiograms.

If your blood pressure is high, you may need to take blood pressure medicines to help slow the worsening of aortic regurgitation.

Diuretics (water pills) may be prescribed for symptoms of heart failure.

In the past, most people with heart valve problems were given antibiotics before dental work or an invasive procedure, such as colonoscopy. The antibiotics were given to prevent an infection of the damaged heart. However, antibiotics are now used much less often.

You may need to limit activity that requires more work from your heart. Talk to your provider.

Surgery to repair or replace the aortic valve corrects aortic regurgitation. The decision to have aortic valve replacement depends on your symptoms and the condition and function of your heart.

You may also need surgery to repair the aorta if it is enlarged.

Who are the top Aortic Regurgitation Local Doctors?
Highly rated in
Thoracic Surgery
General Surgery

NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System

CUMC/Milstein Hospital Building

177 Fort Washington Ave 
New York, NY 10032

Isaac George is a Thoracic Surgeon and a General Surgeon in New York, New York. Dr. George has been practicing medicine for over 21 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Aortic Regurgitation. He is also highly rated in 14 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Aortic Valve Stenosis, Mitral Valve Regurgitation, Aortic Regurgitation, and Tricuspid Regurgitation. He is licensed to treat patients in New York. Dr. George is currently accepting new patients.

Highly rated in

Cleveland Clinic Health System

Marymount Hospital

12300 Mccracken Rd 
Garfield Heights, OH 44125

Zoran Popovic is a Cardiologist in Garfield Heights, Ohio. Dr. Popovic has been practicing medicine for over 37 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Aortic Regurgitation. He is also highly rated in 28 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Aortic Regurgitation, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Aortic Valve Stenosis, and Cardiomyopathy. He is licensed to treat patients in Ohio. Dr. Popovic is currently accepting new patients.

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Highly rated in
Thoracic Surgery
Vascular Surgery

Piedmont Healthcare System

Piedmont Cardiology Of Atlanta, LLC

55 Whitcher St Ne 
Marietta, GA 30060

Vinod Thourani is a Thoracic Surgeon and a Cardiologist in Marietta, Georgia. Dr. Thourani has been practicing medicine for over 28 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Aortic Regurgitation. He is also highly rated in 27 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Aortic Valve Stenosis, Aortic Regurgitation, Heart Bypass Surgery, and Mitral Valve Regurgitation. He is licensed to treat patients in Georgia. Dr. Thourani is currently accepting new patients.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Aortic Regurgitation?

Surgery can cure aortic insufficiency and relieve symptoms, unless you develop heart failure or other complications. People with angina or congestive heart failure due to aortic regurgitation do poorly without treatment.

What are the possible complications of Aortic Regurgitation?

Complications may include:

  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Heart failure
  • Infection in the heart
When should I contact a medical professional for Aortic Regurgitation?

Call your provider if:

  • You have symptoms of aortic regurgitation.
  • You have aortic insufficiency and your symptoms worsen or new symptoms develop (especially chest pain, difficulty breathing, or swelling).
How do I prevent Aortic Regurgitation?

Blood pressure control is very important if you are at risk for aortic regurgitation.

What are the latest Aortic Regurgitation Clinical Trials?
Prognostic Value of Soluble Urokinase-type Plasminogen Activator Receptor in Valvular Heart Disease
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Comparison Study of Echocardiography and Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the Assessment of Mitral and Aortic Regurgitation
What are the Latest Advances for Aortic Regurgitation?
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement: a palliative approach to infective endocarditis.
Aortic root remodeling and aortic valve annuloplasty in patients with aortic root aneurysm and no severe aortic valve disease.
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5-Year Follow-Up From the PARTNER 2 Aortic Valve-in-Valve Registry for Degenerated Aortic Surgical Bioprostheses.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : January 27, 2020
Published By : Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Carabello BA. Valvular heart disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 66.

Lindman BR, Bonow RO, Otto CM. Aortic valve disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 68.

Nishimura RA, Otto CM, Bonow RO, et al. 2017 AHA/ACC focused update of the 2014 AHA/ACC guideline for the management of patients with valvular heart disease: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2017;135(25):e1159-e1195. PMID: 28298458 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28298458/.

Otto CM. Valvular regurgitation. In: Otto CM, ed. Textbook of Clinical Echocardiography. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 12.