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Heart Valve Disease: Symptoms

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This information was reviewed and approved by Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC, FACP (12/1/2012).

The tricuspid, mitral, and pulmonic valves usually all have a trace amount of backflow (regurgitation) which is normal and poses no problem.

Backflow occurs when a valve doesn't close properly and blood leaks backward instead of moving forward. When backflow or narrowing (stenosis) develops and gets worse, this is when patients start to notice, often with shortness of breath or chest pain.

Symptoms depend on the patient and the type and severity of valve disease. Some patients have no symptoms at all. In other cases, valve disease may take its toll over many years. Progressive valve disease can lead to heart failure, arrhythmia, and other problems.