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What happens if a heart valve malfunctions?

There are two ways a heart valve can malfunction:

  1. It can become stenosed, or obstructed. This impairs the flow across the valve, and blood backs up in the heart. 
  2. A valve can leak, which means that the one-way function of a valve is lost. This causes blood to go backwards instead of forwards. 

Both of these conditions can be mild, moderate or severe, and current guidelines suggest that a valve should be fixed if the disease is severe and causes symptoms.

When a heart valve malfunctions, it either becomes blocked or leaks.

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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.