Q: What happens when a heart valve is leaking, and what is the treatment?
A: An incompetent valve (leaky) means that a portion of the blood flow moves backwards to the normal flow.
Some leakage is considered normal, but if the backward flow is too large, heart failure can result. If allowed to progress, severe heart failure can significantly change the quality of life and even result in a shortened life span.
An evaluation by a cardiologist is important to determine if treatment is needed.
Mitral vale leakage is one condition, which can be treated with minimally invasive robotic surgery preserving the patients natural valve and allowing a quicker return to normal life.
Dr. Allen Raczkowski practices Cardiothoracic Surgery and General Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital.