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Three Leaking valves at 18.

(Personal details before question.)
At three years of age I was diagnosed as having a Bicuspid Aortic valve. My parents were told it wasn't all that serious but I'd need echo-cardiograms from time to time to monitor it and take medicine before undergoing any surgery. I am now 18 almost 19 and have lived a perfectly normal life. No issues with breathing, no chest pain, nothing out of the ordinary. I do not drink (and that's not made up, I dislike carbonation and do not even drink soda) or smoke. I played the trumpet (important as shortness of breath is a warning sign) and played sports. I've had two echo cardiograms both of which showed no change. Last month I went back for my third after 7 years and this time the cardiologist noticed two more of my valves were leaking. I have an appointment in 6 months and I was told to not change a thing. The Doctors seemed puzzled and couldn't find an initial cause for it. My family doesn't have a history of any genetic disorders that could cause these symptoms. I was called back for a second look during the same appointment where in the doctor brought in a co-worker to talk about what they saw. According to them, my bicuspid aortic valve appeared to almost be perpendicular from some of the views?

I was told the leaking valves weren't that bad, but I know three leaking valves isn't a good thing, even more so for someone my age. I know I was told I shouldn't change anything, but should I keep an eye out for any changes in my condition? If so what sort of things do I look for? I know about the trouble breathing and chest pains, but is there anything else? What are the sort of treatments I might be offered? Would they fix the valves or put me on medicine? During my next visit I'll be getting something called a MRA, I was told I either am injected with, or ingest something that shows up on the echo cardiogram and allows the doctors to see things better. What exactly is an MRA?

I don't expect an answer to all these questions, but thank you very much for what information you can give me!

(P.S.) I was told that an echo cardiogram shouldn't hurt, but it did for me. I'm also a female, 5'7ish and a perfect weight for my height. I'm not sure if that matters or not.
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Avatar universal
Hello and welcome to our site. I am going to try and answer some of your questions for you and hope it helps you. Overall, having leaky valves isn't that big of an issue as MANY people have leaking valves, even more than one. It is the degree of leakage which is important. Usually they are classifies as trivial, minor, moderate and severe. You have not said which your's falls into. The fact that you are involved with so many different things leads me to belive you do not have much to worry about. Especially if you have no symptoms at this point. Also the length of time between check-ups is very encouraging. I have never heard of an MRA, I'm think you mean a MRI which is a special test similar to a CAT Scan, but much better. They give you a dye for this test to clarify things better. It doesn't take long to do, maybe 20 minutes or so depending on what the doctors want. Sometimes they will put patients on medication and sometimes, if the valve problems are serious enough they will replace them. I was surprised you said the echo hurt for you; it may be because they pressed the transducer alitte bit hard, but the echo is not painful, even babies tolerate this test without difficulty. My own daughter has had hundreds of echoes and has never once said it hurt; I can't figure out why you would have been hurt. take care
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Avatar universal
Thank you very much for your speedy response, and your warm greeting! I actually asked my doctor if he meant an MRI when he first told me I was getting an MRA. He said that it wasn't a mistake and so after reading that you hadn't heard of it I decided to Google it and I found out it does exist!

MRA stands for Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (the following information is from http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/magnetic-resonance-angiogram-mra) MRA is a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to provide pictures of blood vessels inside the body. In many cases MRA can provide information that cannot be obtained from an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan.

MRA can find problems with the blood vessels that may be causing reduced blood flow. With MRA, both the blood flow and the condition of the blood vessel walls can be seen. The test is often used to look at the blood vessels that go to the brain, kidneys, and legs. Information from an MRA can be saved and stored on a computer for further study. Photographs of selected views can also be made.

There is more information, but you an go to the website I provided for that!

About the echo itself, it was very uncomfortable, I suppose 'hurt' or 'pain' isn't the right word to describe it. I know its not supposed to cause any discomfort so that's why I was surprised when it became uncomfortable. Perhaps they did just press a little to hard, I'll mention it if it happens again during my next appointment.

Hope the information about MRA is useful!
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Avatar universal
Thank you SO much for this info! I had never heard of the MRA, but have had several MRIs myself so I do understand how that test works. See, everyone on here can benefit from the different posts. Again...THANK YOU! :)

The echo may have been slightly uncomfortable for you, especially if they pressed the transducer on the neck down toward the chest. Next time tell them that this is hurting and maybe they can let up a bit. take care!
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