Aortic insufficiency is the reverse flow of blood through the aortic valve back into the left ventricle resulting from inadequate closure of the aortic valve. Nearly all patients with aortic insufficiency have a dilated aortic valve root and many have damaged valve leaflets. Together, these geometric changes to the aortic valve anatomy contribute to valve dysfunction. Aortic insufficiency is slightly more common than stenosis affecting 0.5% of adults, or nearly 2.5 million people in the U.S. and Europe.
Mild cases of aortic valve disease can remain undetected for many years. When diagnosed, milder cases of aortic valve disease can be managed with medications and vigilant monitoring. For patients with more severe, rapidly progressing disease, surgery to replace the aortic valve with a mechanical or tissue valve replacement device is the last treatment option. More than 200,000 patients in the U.S. and Europe undergo aortic valve replacement for aortic valve disease each year.