Aortic insufficiency (AI), also known as aortic regurgitation (AR), is the leaking of the aortic valve of the heart that causes blood to flow in the reverse direction during ventricular diastole, from the aorta into the left ventricle. Aortic insufficiency can be due to abnormalities of either the aortic valve or the aortic root (the beginning of the aorta).
What are the causes of aortic insufficiency?
About half of the cases of aortic insufficiency are due progressive enlargement of the aortic root. Other causes include aging, high blood pressure syphilitic aortitis, osteogenesis imperfecta, aortic dissection, Behçet's disease, and reactive arthritis. Other potential causes that affect the valve directly include Marfan's syndrome, Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
How is aortic insufficiency diagnosed?
Persons with AI often have no symptoms and a murmur may be discovered during a routine examination.
AI may be detected by listening with a stethoscope which reveals a murmur. The murmur is caused by some of the blood leaking back into the left ventricle.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for MS may include any, or a combination, of the following:
In some situations where symptoms are more severe, additional diagnostic procedures may be performed. Additional procedures may include:
What is the aortic valve?
The aortic valve is the valve between the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body and carries the entire output of blood. The aortic valve normally consists of three leaflets. When the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart, contracts, it forces blood through the valve to the aorta and then to the rest of the body. When the LV expands again, the aortic valve prevents the blood from returning to the ventricle.
What are the symptoms of aortic insufficiency?
The initial presenting symptoms include progressive shortness of breath with activity, which may be so subtle that the the patient is unaware of them and may cut down on exertion without being aware of his/her reduced capacity. More advanced symptoms include syncope, chest pain, and frank heart failure.
What is the treatment for aortic insufficiency?
Specific treatment for AI will be determined by your physician based on:
There is no medical treatment to correct aortic insufficiency. To correct this problem, surgery is required. Surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the malfunctioning valve(s). Surgery may include: