If you have a history of heart problems in your family, you may be asking yourself, "how serious is a leaky heart valve?" A leaky heart valve can be a sign of a serious condition. People that suffer with a leaky heart valve may not show signs or symptoms and this can cause the problem to go unnoticed or ignored. A leaky heart valve is typically seen related to the mitral valve. The mitral valve connects the upper left chamber of the heart to the main chamber. With a leaky valve, when the heart pumps it does not fully pump the blood on into the next chamber. Blood regurgitates back into the original chamber. If you have symptoms with your leaky valve, you may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, and palpitations. Many times, people do not have symptoms with a leaky valve but this does not lessen their risks for dangers, such as permanent heart damage and death.
A leaky valve is a serious condition that needs to be checked and tested in a timely manner. A leaky valve cannot be detected by simply listening to the heart. Instead, the most common test to detect a leaky valve is with an ultrasound. An ultrasound can visualize the heart and all the valves. It can detect if the blood flow is normal, or if there is any regurgitation or leakage. If leakage is seen, the most common form of treatment is with surgery. Surgery is done to repair the valve, however, typically the leakage has to be severe in order for your doctor to decide that surgery is the best treatment.