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Aortic Valve Regurgitation - Cause

Different factors cause sudden (acute) and long-standing (chronic) aortic valve regurgitation.

Chronic aortic valve regurgitation

Causes of chronic aortic valve regurgitation include:

  • Congenital heart defects. Some people are born with a valve that has one (unicuspid valve) or two leaflets (bicuspid valve camera.gif) instead of three. In either of these cases, the valves don't close the way they should when the heart is at rest.
  • Aging. The normal wear and tear of aging can affect the valves.
  • Endocarditis. This is an infection in the heart. Bacteria caused by infection can prevent the valve from closing properly.
  • Enlarged aorta. This can be caused by age or other health problems, such as high blood pressure.
  • The diet medicine fen-phen. Fen-phen was a popular diet drug that was taken off the U.S. market in 1997 because of its link to heart valve disease, including aortic valve regurgitation.
  • Rheumatic feverRheumatic fever. If you had rheumatic fever, you may be at increased risk for aortic valve regurgitation.
  • Radiation treatments for cancer. In rare cases, radiation treatments to the chest, especially in young people, can damage the aortic valve.

Acute aortic valve regurgitation

Acute regurgitation can be caused by:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 02, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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