Can a leaky heart valve be fatal?

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Offline thedoc

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Can a leaky heart valve be fatal?
« on: 05/07/2016 08:50:02 »
Philip Cowling asked the Naked Scientists:
   Can a leaky heart valve be fatal?
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 05/07/2016 08:50:02 by _system »

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Offline exothermic

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Re: Can a leaky heart valve be fatal?
« Reply #1 on: 05/07/2016 11:47:30 »
Yes, individuals with unmanaged mitral valve regurgitation are at risk for sudden death with and/or without warning signs. Those with severe symptoms such as atrial fibrillation and reduced systolic function are at even higher risk.

In contrast, corrective surgery of the mitral valve is associated with a reduced incidence of sudden death.

 

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Offline evan_au

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Re: Can a leaky heart valve be fatal?
« Reply #2 on: 05/07/2016 15:28:31 »
Cardiologists measure the effectiveness of heart pumping by the "ejection fraction", ie how much of the volume of the heart chamber is ejected when the heart contracts.

With a damaged valve, some of the blood leaks back into the chamber, instead of being pushed into the next chamber or around the body, so the heart is working hard, but the body is not getting the full blood supply.

If the backflow is small, the patient may not feel any problems. However, it can result in blood pooling, forming clots and causing strokes.

If the ejection fraction is too low, you die due to heart failure.

There are surgical techniques to repair heart valves, or replace them.

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Offline Alan McDougall

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The Truth remains the Truth regardless of our beliefs or opinions the Truth is always the Truth even if we know it or do not know it (The Truth remains the Truth)