What Are the Possible Implications of Mild to Moderate Heart Valve Leakage?

There are four valves in the heart, and the possible consequences of leakage in each one are slightly different, notes WebMD. Mild to moderate leakage in a heart valve does not usually require surgery and is treated with medication and close monitoring, says Cleveland Clinic Florida.

A small amount of leakage in a heart valve is not uncommon even in healthy people and may cause no symptoms at all, explains WebMD. Mild to moderate leakage in the pulmonary or tricuspid valves typically doesn’t cause any problems and requires no treatment. Leakage of the mitral valve is usually not treated with medication, but it is slowly progressive, so surgery may eventually be required. People with a small amount of leakage in the aortic valve require monitoring, but surgery is only recommended if it becomes severe.

Those with a small amount of leakage in a heart valve often show no outward signs, and even significant leaking may not cause any noticeable difficulties, notes WebMD. Doctors listen for abnormal heart murmurs and use echocardiograms to determine the severity of the leakage. When a valve begins to seriously malfunction, it can lead to signs of congestive heart failure, which include shortness of breath, swelling in the legs and fluid retention. Other symptoms include a rapid heartbeat, fatigue, dizziness and heart fluttering.