Dear Doctor: Question
What does it mean if you have a "leaky" heart valve? The doctor said I have a heart murmur due to a leaky valve.
A "leaky valve" is a simple term for valvular insufficiency ( also called valvular regurgitation or valvular incompetence). It occurs when the leaflets of a valve do not close completely, letting blood leak backward across the valve. This backward flow is referred to as “regurgitant flow.”
A heart murmur is a swishing sound heard by the doctor or nurse with a stethoscope when they listen to your heart. It often results from abnormal blood flow due to abnormalities of a heart valve.
Once a doctor hears a murmur - additional studies, such as an echocardiogram, may be helpful to determine what valve is leaking and the severity of the leak
Treatment may range from "no treatment needed" to surgery.