Q:

How do they treat a leaking heart valve?

A:

Quick Answer

While minor heart valve problems often require no treatment at all, more severe problems benefit from blood pressure medication or diuretics, according to WebMD. If the valve is causing significant leakage and does not respond to medication, surgery to repair or replace the valve is an option.

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Full Answer

The heart has four valves, and all of them have the potential to leak. These valves consist of flaps that open and close to facilitate the pumping of blood. If a valve does not close, it allows the blood to flow backwards and makes the heart less effective at pumping blood. If this regurgitation of blood is minor, the person may notice no symptoms, as reported by WebMD. However, if the valve allows large amounts of regurgitation, the patient often experiences the symptoms of congestive heart failure, fatigue, respiratory problems and heart palpitations.

Healthy adults often have a slightly leaky tricuspid valve that does not cause problems or require treatment, states WebMD. If this valve requires surgery, repair is a better option than replacement.

Lifestyle changes make living with a leaky heart valve easier. Engaging in daily exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding the use of tobacco is advised, according to WebMD.

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