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Aortic Insufficiency

Aortic insufficiency is a heart valve disease in which the aortic valve weakens or balloons, preventing the valve from closing tightly. This leads to backward flow of blood from the aorta (the largest blood vessel) into the left ventricle (the left lower chamber of the heart).

Risk Factors

In the past, rheumatic fever was the primary cause of aortic insufficiency. Now that antibiotics are used to treat rheumatic fever, other causes are more commonly seen, including

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Aortic Dissection
  • Endocarditis
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Marfan's Syndrome
  • Reiter's Syndrome
  • Syphilis
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Valve problems that are present at birth


  • Chest pain under the sternum may radiate; crushing, squeezing, pressure, tightness; pain increases with exercise, relieves with rest.
  • Shortness of breath and fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular, rapid, racing, pounding, or fluttering pulse
  • Palpitations

For information or appointments, please call 855-463-3320.