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Aortic insufficiency

  • Alternative Names

    Aortic valve prolapse; Aortic regurgitation


    If there are no symptoms or if symptoms are mild, you may only need to get an echocardiogram from time to time and be monitored by a health care provider.

    If the blood pressure is high, then treatment with certain blood pressure medications may help slow the worsening of aortic regurgitation.

    ACE inhibitor drugs and diuretics (water pills) may be prescribed for more moderate or severe symptoms.

    In the past, most patients 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 before dental work and other procedures.

    Moderate activity restriction may be recommended. People with severe symptoms should avoid strenuous activity.

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

    Surgery to repair the aorta may be required if the condition is caused by disorders of the aorta.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Aortic insufficiency is curable with surgical repair. This can completely relieve symptoms unless severe heart failure is present or other complications develop. Without treatment, patients with angina or congestive heart failure do poorly.

    • Left-sided heart failure
    • Pulmonary edema
    • Endocarditis

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • You have symptoms of aortic insufficiency
    • You have aortic insufficiency and symptoms worsen or new symptoms develop, especially chest pain, difficulty breathing, or edema (swelling)