Learn About Bicupsid Aortic Valves and Mitral Valve Prolapse

By: American Heart Association

(bright music) - The aortic valve has three cusps, or three leaflets. Some people can be born with only two cusps, or leaflets. And that's called a bicuspid aortic valved. Why is that important? It's important because the stresses distributed across that leaflet are different than if there's three.

And it tends to wear out over time, gradually over many years. 10, 20, 30, 40 years. That valve may have deterioration.

A leaflet also may not meet together with the other leaflets for either the mitral or the aortic valve, and if one leaflet is bigger in size, and it billows way up and expands way beyond where the other leaflets are meeting, we call that a prolapsing valve. So if your doctor says you have a prolapsing anterior leaflet of your mitral valve, that's what that's all about. And frequently that's associated with leakage. And let me say something about symptom development.

Because, particularly with mitral disease, it can be so slow, that the person doesn't notice it. Now I want to quickly add that just because an aortic valve is bicuspid, or a leaflet of either the aortic valve or mitral valve is prolapsing, does not mean that it's leaking and needs treatment. Probably does need surveillance over time, but does not necessarily mean that it needs treatment.

Learn About Bicupsid Aortic Valves and Mitral Valve Prolapse

Now, or ever, it may go the patient's entire natural life time. (bright music).

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