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.
Isaac George, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
It is generally safe to exercise if you have leakage of your mitral and tricuspid valves. There is benefit in staying active, from both your heart’s and other organ’s perspective, and daily low to moderate exercise may help you do better after surgery. This is mainly by keeping your other organs and your muscles in good shape.   

Continue Learning about Heart Disease

Heart Valve Replacement: What Are My Options?
Heart Valve Replacement: What Are My Options?
Some people may hear the words “valve replacement” and automatically assume it means open heart surgery. This misconception could be one reason why pe...
Read More
What are the symptoms of congestive heart failure?
St. Mark's HospitalSt. Mark's Hospital
Symptoms of congestive heart failure include fatigue, lethargy, shortness of breath and more.
More Answers
6 Heart-Healthy Habits for Women That Truly Make a Difference
6 Heart-Healthy Habits for Women That Truly Make a Difference6 Heart-Healthy Habits for Women That Truly Make a Difference6 Heart-Healthy Habits for Women That Truly Make a Difference6 Heart-Healthy Habits for Women That Truly Make a Difference
Heart disease rates have been dropping steadily for everyone but younger women. Here’s how to reverse that trend. Death rates from heart disease in th...
Start Slideshow
What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?
What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

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.