Treatment for aortic valve regurgitation can range from changes in lifestyle to surgery. Your medical team will work with you to determine which approach is most suited for your condition.
Your doctor may suggest changes to your lifestyle. These can include adjusting your diet to reduce salt intake, avoiding alcohol which limits heart function, quitting smoking and losing weight if necessary.
Sometimes medication is an effective treatment for aortic valve regurgitation. Medications can be used to reduce blood pressure or to improve heart function; occasionally, antibiotics may be prescribed to reduce infection risk before dental or medical procedures. Patients with arrhythmias or severe reduction in heart function may be prescribed blood thinners which can help prevent stroke.
If you have significant symptoms of regurgitation or reduced heart function, your doctor may suggest that the heart valve be replaced with either a mechanical or tissue valve (from a pig, cow, or human donor). Surgical therapies can frequently be performed using smaller incisions and include:
- Aortic valve replacement surgery is performed during routine open heart procedures. This can be done with a small incision in certain patients.
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) uses a catheter to replace the aortic valve in certain people who can’t tolerate, or are high-risk candidates for, open heart surgery.
- In special circumstances, the valve may be repaired rather than replaced. Valve repair procedures can include separating fused leaflets, reshaping or strengthening a leaking valve, repairing a tear or hole, or removing calcium.