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Old 01-17-2010, 03:23 PM   #1
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Leaking heart valve - advice needed

Hi
I am 30, female, 57kg, 163cm high - lived a active and healthy lifestyle so. In the past 6months i have been getting chest pains, pains vary from left to right, sometimes shoot down my left arm, wake up with pins and needles in my arms, generally just don't feel right, like gittiness. The chest pain comes and goes and is usually sharp and heavy pain.
I have stopped being as active as i use to as exercise makes me feel weird afterwards - usually short of breath, uneasy feeling.
Most recently i woke up feeling the worst i have ever felt - chest, left side of my neck, left arm and upper back/neck was killing me. I went to the hospital - they did an ECG and chest xray which were all good. They pumped me full of pain killers till i couldn't feel anything and didn't know my own name and sent me home! I got a referral to a cardiologist - they did ECG and ultrasound. The Dr told me i had a leaking valve but it was not serious. He booked me in for a stress test, asked me to get dressed and left the room. I did not get to speak to him again to find out what a leaking heart valve meant?? Could this be whats making me get chest pains and making me feel uneasy? Can anyone tell me more? Should i continue to do light exercise? should i avoid any types of food, drinks, excerises?
Can stress make this worse? Anyone who has had a leaky valve is this the same symptoms your felt?
desprately seeking any info regarding this.
Thanks

 
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:14 PM   #2
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Re: Leaking heart valve - advice needed

Did your cardiologist say you have a prolapse of a valve? Or is it a regurgitation? I have 2 family members that have Mitral valve Prolapse, which is the valve does not close properly at the end of the chambers heart cycle allowing a leakage of blood to slip through the valve. Kind of like leaving a door ajar and the air conditioning escaping to the outside. One was diagnosed at age 15 and the other at age 25. MVP is more common in women, can run in familys and usually is found as a heart murmur on a physical exam by listening with a stethoscope. Follow up with an echo and stress test can evaluate to what extent your valve is leaking. Naturally the less it leaks the better. If over time the leak becomes substantial, then a valve replacement would be indicated. Did your doctor tell you which valve is affected?

There are 4 valves that control the flow of blood through the heart cycle, pulmonary, mitral, tricuspid and aortic. Generally speaking the aortic is of most concern as it controls the flow of oxygenated blood to all parts of the body. Now here is the good news, most people are able to live moderately normal lives with no ill effects. However some will experience symptoms, that may be alleviated by the use of medication to control any progression and some improvement in symptoms. Of course, every individual is different depending on the degree of leakage, their general health and other factors.

I would ask the doctor specifically which valve is involved and though he may not give a percentage, he may say as to whether testing shows if the the leak is mild, moderate or severe. Generally a followup echo is done at intervals to assess any progression of the leak. This is NORMAL in the treatment. There are other studies (ex. TEE) that can be done to get a better picture of the valve to see if it is diseased or if it has the right structure (some people are born with less leaflets on the valve as others.) Your doctor may order if he thinks it is indicated.

Dizzy spells, fainting, weakness, palpitations, shortness of breath and anxiety type reactions ( which can include chest pain) are common symptoms of MVP.

I do have regurgitation of all four valves, the aortic being severe. I was diagnosed about 5 years ago and have regular echos to assess for changes. I have had no progression of the regurgitation at this time. Regurgitation is different in that the valve allows blood to flow backwards through a valve. Some of the symptoms can be similar to that of a prolapsed valve. The Cleveland Clinic has a wonderful heart center and their website has great info on all types of heart disorders that is easy to understand and I know you can find answers there to any question you may have. Also there are several here that have valve issues and can give great info on their treatment and meds, etc.

 
Old 01-25-2010, 05:58 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Re: Leaking heart valve - advice needed

I've had a "leaky" aortic heart valve all my life. My feeling is that if the cardiologist told you it's not serious, then it isn't. They can tell from an ECG how serious it is. But this is to be monitored regularly (usually yearly), depending on your individual readings & doctor recommendation.

I've heard many people live their whole lives with a valve such as yours with no problem. This wasn't the case for me however, as I eventually needed an aortic valve replacement.

So no worries, just keep an eye on it. Your doctor would have told you if you needed any restrictions, such as limited exercise, etc. With regular exams you will know how it's doing (progressing or still ok). Good luck! ~lKaz

 
Old 01-25-2010, 07:24 PM   #4
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Re: Leaking heart valve - advice needed

I had aortic valve replacement in 2008. I didn't have any symptoms to speak of until the shortness of breath caught up to me. It became so bad I couldn't walk fifty paces without laboring to breath. I put off going to a cardiologist until the breathing began affecting my sleep. I couldn't sleep on my back. I would wake up laboring to catch my breath. Any physical activity was impossible. After that I broke down and went to get checked. The Dr. preformed an angiogram. The procedure was reletively painless...out patient type of stuff...and the results were conclusive. An angiogram is probably the best way to determine if a valve is diseased or defective.

 
Old 11-18-2010, 11:00 AM   #5
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Re: Leaking heart valve - advice needed

I am guessing that it is a backflow caused by a valve that is not closing tightly. If it is mild, a person can live with that.

 
Old 06-13-2011, 09:33 AM   #6
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Re: Leaking heart valve - advice needed

Hi, I don't have a cardiologist...but just had an ECHO test done after telling my MD abt getting winded and out of breath walking up 1 flight of stairs or walking uphill (and doing aerboic activities, which i have stopped doing) for the past 3.5 yrs. While other MDs have downplayed it, this MD requested for an echo.

The echo came back indiciating i have 'mild to moderate' mitral reguritation. When i asked him abt seeing a cardiologist, he said it's not necessary at this point.

I read about it...don't i have to have this monitored? Like every 6 months? for those of you having this, have u had a family history of coronary issues? Is this genetic? Also, do you have any problems sleeping or have any breathing disorders? Just wanted to know if there is a correlation w/ breathing issues w/ this problem. Thanks for sharing...

 
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