Aortic regurgitation: How does it affect pulse pressure?

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Aortic regurgitation: How does it affect pulse pressure?

Question

How does aortic regurgitation affect blood pressure?

Mary
New York

Answer

The aortic valve separates the left pumping chamber (ventricle) of the heart from the aorta, the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the rest of your body. When the aortic valve functions properly, it allows blood to be pumped out of the heart and into the aorta and supports blood pressure in the aorta between heartbeats.

If the aortic valve doesn't close tightly (aortic regurgitation), some of the blood that has already been pumped out of the heart leaks back in (regurgitation). The heart tries to make up for the problem by pumping out larger amounts of blood with each heartbeat. This causes a decrease in diastolic blood pressure in the aorta, resulting in an increase in pulse pressure — the numeric difference between systolic and diastolic pressure.

Last Updated: 01/15/2007
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