Heart valve disease can be mild and unrecognizable. In other situations, it can be severe with tremendous pain and complications. When you read about blood pressure problems, very rarely do you come across anyone discussing heart valve disease. This prompts a few questions. First, how does heart valve problems affect blood pressure?
Heart valve problems can cause low or high blood pressure with the following heart valve diseases:
- Mitral Valve Regurgitation
- Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation
- Mitral Valve Stenosis
- Aortic Valve Stenosis
- Tricuspid Valve Stenosis
The other question is, how does blood pressure affect heart valve problems?
Blood pressure can be a risk factor or one of the causes for the following heart valve problems:
- Aortic Heart Valve Regurgitation
- Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation
- Aortic Valve Stenosis
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The heart contains four valves:
- Aortic Valve
- Mitral Valve
- Pulmonary Valve
- Tricuspid Valve
The valves are located in the 4 chambers of the heart which are:
- Right Atrium
- Right Ventricle
- Left Atrium
- Left Ventricle
There are 2 kinds of heart valve disease, stenosis and regurgitation. Stenosis occurs when the heart valve opening gets smaller, which restricts the flow through the heart. Regurgitation occurs when the heart valve leaks and doesn’t close all the way. This allows blood to flow backwards in the heart. Each of the eight heart valve diseases is listed below.
I’ll inform you about their association to blood pressure, where each valve is located and what occurs with each disease. If you only want to read about how they affect blood pressure, you could just read the first few lines under each disease name.
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1. Mitral Valve Regurgitation
How it May Be Associated with or Affect Blood Pressure: It may cause pulmonary hypertension which is high blood pressure in the veins leading from the lungs to the heart. The leakage causes the amount of blood and pressure in the upper left atrium to increase. The excess blood and pressure can increase the pressure in the veins from the lungs to the heart. Left side heart disease is the most common cause of pulmonary hypertension 1.
What is the Mitral Valve? The mitral valve is located between the upper left atrium, and the lower left ventricle. Typically, the valve will open allowing blood to flow from the upper left atrium through to the lower left ventricle. The valve will then close when the ventricle contracts to push blood out of the heart into the aorta 2.
What is Mitral Regurgitation? It is when the mitral valve leaks because it doesn’t close as tight as it should. This allows blood to flow backward into the left atrium when the left ventricle contracts 3.
2. Aortic Valve Regurgitation
How it May Be Associated with or Affect Blood Pressure: There are many common causes of aortic heart valve regurgitation and high blood pressure is one of them.
What is the Aortic Valve? The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle and the exit of the heart to the aorta. Typically the valve will open allowing blood to flow from the lower left ventricle into the aorta towards the body. The valve will then close and prevent the blood from flowing backward into the left ventricle when it relaxes.
What is Aortic Valve Regurgitation? It occurs when the aortic valve leaks because it doesn’t close tightly. This allows blood to flow back into the left ventricle instead of exiting in the aorta to the body 4.
3. Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation
How it May Be Associated with or Affect Blood Pressure: A leaky tricuspid heart valve can lower the amount of blood the heart pumps out to the lungs which can affect your blood pressure.
What is the Tricuspid Valve? The tricuspid valve is located between the right atrium and the lower right ventricle. Typically the valve will open allowing blood to flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle. The valve will then close when the ventricle contracts to push blood out of the heart into the pulmonary artery to the lungs. A properly closed tricuspid valve prevents blood to flow back into the right atrium.
What is Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation? It occurs when the tricuspid valve leaks. This allows blood to flow backwards into the right atrium when the right ventricle contracts. As a result, the right atrium can enlarge with the extra blood which increases the pressure in the other chambers and blood vessels 5.
4. Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation
How it May Be Associated with or Affect Blood Pressure: Pulmonary heart valve regurgitation’s most common cause is high blood pressure in the veins from the lung to the heart (Pulmonary Hypertension).
What is the Pulmonary Valve? It’s located between the right ventricle and the exit of the heart to the lungs. Typically, the valve will open allowing blood to flow out of the right ventricle into the pulmonary artery towards the lungs. The valve will then close and prevent the blood from flowing backward into the right ventricle.
What is Pulmonary Regurgitation? It occurs when the pulmonary valve leaks because it doesn’t close as tight as it should. This allows blood to flow back into the right ventricle instead of exiting into the pulmonary artery 6.
5. Mitral Valve Stenosis
How it May Be Associated with or Affect Blood Pressure: There’s increased pressure in the arteries that carries blood between the lung and heart resulting in pulmonary hypertension. The lungs may also have fluid build-up and cause shortness of breath 7.
What is Mitral Valve Stenosis? Mitral valve stenosis is the narrowing of the mitral valve opening between the left atrium and left ventricle. The narrowed opening restricts the blood flow between the two chambers.
6. Aortic Valve Stenosis
How it May Be Associated with or Affect Blood Pressure: People with high blood pressure have an increased risk of developing aortic valve stenosis. Addressing high blood pressure and other risk factors for coronary artery disease are some ways to prevent it. For someone who already has aortic stenosis, blood pressure may drop because the heart can’t supply an adequate amount of blood through the narrowed valve. This is more likely to occur during exercise when the blood vessels open up, requiring more oxygen to the muscles.
What is Aortic Valve Stenosis? It is the most common heart valve disease and occurs when the aortic valve opening narrows. This restricts the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta 8.
7. Tricuspid Valve Stenosis
How it May Be Associated with or Affect Blood Pressure: The narrowed opening in the tricuspid valve causes the right atrium to enlarge because the blood volume is increased in the chamber. The increased volume causes an increase in pressure in the veins bringing the blood back from the body into the heart. This does not happen with the veins from the heart to the lungs because there is a decrease in blood volume from the right ventricle 9.
What is Tricuspid Valve Stenosis? It’s when the opening of the tricuspid valve narrows. Tricuspid valve stenosis restricts the blood flow between the right atrium and the right ventricle 10.
8. Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
How it May Be Associated with or Affect Blood Pressure: The most common cause is a birth defect and blood pressure is not one of them. The pressure in the right ventricle increases which can enlarge the heart.
What is Pulmonary Valve Stenosis? It occurs when the pulmonary valve narrows. This restricts the flow of blood from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries 11.
Fluctuating Blood Pressure and Inconsistent BP Readings
If you found this Blood Pressure topic interesting check out these related blood pressure articles also found in this same website:
- How Often You Should Replace Your Blood Pressure Monitor
- Causes Of False Blood Pressure Readings
- Effect Of Arm Position On Blood Pressure
- American Heart Association: Pulmonary Hypertension – High Blood Pressure in the Heart-to-Lung System[↩]
- American Heart Association: Problem: Mitral Valve Regurgitation[↩]
- American Heart Association: Prolapse/Regurgitation[↩]
- American Heart Association: Problem: Aortic Valve Regurgitation[↩]
- American Heart Association: Problem: Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Pulmonic Regurgitation[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mitral Stenosis[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Aortic stenosis[↩]
- Merck Manual: Tricuspid Stenosis[↩]
- American Heart Association: Problem: Tricuspid Valve Stenosis[↩]
- American Heart Association: Problem: Pulmonary Valve Stenosis[↩]