Advertisement

How safe is exercise if I have mitral valve and tricuspid valve leakage?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
For three of the four cardiac valves—the mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonic valves—a little bit of leakage is completely normal. In fact, for the mitral and tricuspid valves, the backflow of blood occurs well before the valve closes. Modern echocardiography equipment is so sensitive that virtually everyone's echocardiogram shows some leakage of the mitral and tricuspid valves, provided the images are technically reasonable. So, if your doctor tells you that you have a little mitral and tricuspid valve regurgitation, but you don't need to worry about it, don't let it interfere with your exercise program.

The aortic valve, in contrast, doesn't normally leak—not even a little. It acts like a door between the heart and the main artery of the body (the aorta). Nature probably sculpted this valve to close early, before blood can rush back toward the heart, as a way to direct blood into the coronary arteries. These arteries, which nourish the heart muscle, originate just beyond the aortic valve. If the valve closes early, more blood pressure is available to fill the needy coronary arteries.

When some valve diseases get severe, exercise may be a problem, particularly for aortic valve disease. But for mild or "normal" valve leakiness, there is no reason to limit your exercise.

Your valves will need to be repaired if you develop symptoms or the size or shape of your heart changes. Work closely with your doctor to determine the best time to do this.

Continue Learning about Heart Disease

What You Need to Know About Tetralogy of Fallot
What You Need to Know About Tetralogy of Fallot
Tetralogy of Fallot is a rare congenital heart defect that occurs in about 5 out of every 10,000 babies. It involves a combination of four different h...
Read More
Losing Just a Few Excess Pounds May Bring Heart Benefits
Losing Just a Few Excess Pounds May Bring Heart Benefits
If you’re carrying unwanted excess weight—and if trying to shed it all seems overwhelming—you may be surprised to learn that a little weight loss can ...
Read More
Have Heart Disease? Feel Confident Resuming Sexual Activity!
Have Heart Disease? Feel Confident Resuming Sexual Activity!
Photo Credit: Leo Hidalgo, via Flickr Creative Commons Many patients who are diagnosed with heart disease, or who are recovering from a heart attack ...
Read More
7 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Heart Disease
7 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Heart Disease7 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Heart Disease7 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Heart Disease7 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Heart Disease
Medication isn't the only way to get your heart healthy again. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American adults and, if left untreated, ...
Start Slideshow

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.