History of valvular heart disease


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Apr 28, 2008
I received notification of being awarded a NROTC scholarship to my first choice unit April 4th. As many others have posted on this forum, I have since received a disqualification from DoDMERB. This DQ is for code "D101.00 Valvular heart disease, history of." I had an EKG a few weeks ago, that got sent to them and they reviewed it. However, the EKG technician said I have a good heart (then corrected herself, saying "I mean the muscle, it's strong" :) ). I've done nordic skiing for 2 years, track for 2 years, cross country for 1 year, and started rowing in a club this past summer. I've run and exercised plenty and had no heart problems whatsoever.

I had been expecting some sort of problem could come from this, due to the fact that my regular physician had to write a note about my heart murmur (noticed a short time after I was born), and specifically she wrote I had a "History of a heart murmur", but I've never seen her exact note (it was sent directly to DoDMERB).

Has anyone else had this sort of a problem before, and is it difficult to get a waiver for this? I'm hoping BUMED can pass it by and I can get this all cleared up (as this is my last hurdle to entering the battalion in the fall), but still worried as it could ruin my chances to serve in the Navy. Sorry for the long post, wanted to get everything out there!
Did you have an electrocardiogram (EKG) or an echocardiogram (echo)?? Two very different tests, yet each deals with the heart. I have to assume that it was an echo. If my assumption is incorrect, please feel free to correct me.

The echo most likely showed that you have some regurgitation through one of the heart valves that is greater than what is allowed, thus the disqualification. A waiver is dependent on the amount of regurgitation, the greater the regurgitation, the less likely the chances of a waiver are.

Again, if I missed the mark here feel free to correct me. Also if you have any other questions feel free to ask away.
Sorry about the confusion, my mistake it was an echocardiogram that I had done and thought the abbreviation was EKG. The cardiologist wasn't in the hostpital when I had it done, it had to be sent to him in Florida (I'm in NY), then he made a review of it and sent his opinion to DoDMERB, or so I've been told. Is the premise for giving me this disqualification that although I haven't had problems yet, they're afraid of it in the future and don't want a liability, or because they aren't aware of my physical activities they think it's a problem? I'm not sure if DoDMERB can see my application to NROTC (where I listed all of the above mentioned sports). Thanks Ret!
I'm sure that DoDMERB has received the echo, and thus the disqualification was issued. The problem with valvular regurgitation is that very rarely does it get better on its own.

The standards that DoDMERB goes by are very strict, but the waiver authorities have a little more leeway, so if it is only minimal regurgitation the waiver authorities could waive it.

I would suggest that you have your family physician request a copy of the echo from the physician that did the test and sit down and go over it with him/her. This will give you a better idea of where you are at, and your chances for a waiver.
Thanks for the advice again. I'm just wondering, what are the serious affects of having valvular regurtitation? Besides the fact that it is not normal, could it cause irregular heart conditions while doing physical activity or something, because I've never had a problem. I'm guessing it would be a liability to the Navy or myself if anything happened. I just can't see the reasoning behind DQing an inactive medical condition. Just praying it goes through alright.
The more regurgitation that you have, the less blood your heart is pumping around your body, and the harder it has to work. You may be fine now, but what is going to happen in 15, 20, 25 years?? The services have to ensure that the investment they make in a young man or woman is going to pay off, and they try to look out 20 years. This holds true for all disqualifications. The standards are there for a purpose. I can understand the frustration at being disqualified over something that you have absolutely no control over, and one that you feel doesn't affect you, but the list of disqualifications has been created over the years, and is reviewed frequently to ensure that they keep up with changes in medicine.
Bullet and I know a guy who was in the AF and never knew he had a heart problem until he was about to dive for the airlines. It was his airline physical that he failed, he then went to the flight doc and said hey what's the deal...the doc then immediately DNIF him. He lost his flying slot after 8 yrs, and had to fight for the waiver they even sent him to TX from Alaska to Brooks in the hopes that he wouldn't be FEB...he was, and he decided to dive since his career was now over.

My pt. is the guy never ever knew he had this and as soon as the military finds out anything with the heart they look very seriously into it. I hope you get your waiver, but if you don't I am sure you and your family will say your life is worth more than the navy ever could be!
I think I understand what you're saying, RetNavyHM. For example, if I have a bad regurgitation, when I'm running and my HR is 160 BPM, it's working harder than it needs to and that rate would be lower if I didn't have the murmur, and so I'm also getting less oxygen into my bloodstream and would be able to run faster without the murmur. Does that sound right?

Pima, I have never read any posts by Bullet, but what you're telling me is important. I know the Navy wants their investment back, as would anyone else giving money for school in this manner. As for saying my life is worth more than the navy could ever be, I agree. However, I would still like to experience life in the Navy, and if it led to complications down the road, it most likely wouldn't be as bad as what could happen as a civilian, with car accidents on the rise and everything. Being around people I'd learn to trust for the entire day would make life more satisfying as well. When I hear back, I'll try to face the reality, real or bad, and take everything as it comes. Thanks for all the help!
First of all, I'd like to say I have no intentions of this post being a bump.

Second of all, I just found out something new today. I was working out and my sister called me downstairs. I went, and my parents were standing there with a cake on the table: "CONGRATULATIONS RYAN, YOU GOT THE WAIVER! GO NAVY!" I thought "What? It's only been a week or so..." My mom informed me she was called (at work) today by someone from Pensacola (guessing NSTC?) who said to call her back for some info regarding my application, so she called back and the woman said "Ma'am, you're going to have a great mother's day, your son got the waiver! I need to wait for permission from my supervisor to mail the letter, but wanted to tell you sooner."

How nice. Someone cared enough to take the time to call US and say it passed. Well, thanks RetNavyHM and Pima, your words helped a lot.


P.S. I'll be joining the battalion this fall.
Phone call

I have to say we had the same situation........my daughter went through a DQ, waiver denial, waiver appeal and then finally got the waiver itself. The Academy Medical office(?) called to tell us the waiver had been approved. This was from the Coast Guard.

The entire process (8 months from application to waiver), was long and drawn out and could have driven us nuts, but EVERYONE; DoDMerb staff, Concorde Medical and USCGA were cordial, helpful and timely in everything they did.

We were impressed.