Mitral valve disease is a condition where your mitral valve does not close all the way and leads to backward flow of blood. It is also known as mitral valve regurgitation, mitral valve insufficiency, heart mitral regurgitation and valvular mitral regurgitation. It is a common type of disorder where blood leaks back into the chambers rather than flowing forward through the heart or into an artery.

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The normal functioning of the heart works on the circulation of blood from the body and lungs that will fill the atria (the upper two chambers of the heart) with each heartbeat. There are two valves located at the bottom of the chambers and these are the mitral and tricuspid valves. The ventricles will contract following which the mitral and tricuspid valves will close thus not allowing backflow of blood into the atrium. The deoxygenated blood will flow to the lungs via the pulmonary valves for oxygenation. This oxygenated blood now needs to be circulated to all parts of the body via the aorta when the right ventricle will contract. When either of the valves starts leaking or do not close all the way then heart valve disease can occur. It can cause problems like regurgitation, stenosis or atresia of the heart. In mitral valve disease the amount of blood flowing to the body is cut down and as a result of this the heart has to work harder to pump blood, which most often leads to congestive heart failure.

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When the condition is mild no symptoms are often seen and no treatment is required in mild cases, but the disease progresses slowly over time. However, in severe cases surgery is the only choice of treatment and the disease cannot be reversed.

Symptoms Of Mitral Valve Disease

The common signs and symptoms of mitral valve disease include chronic cough, exhaustion on mild activity and dizziness. There may be breathlessness that increases with mild to moderate activity and sometimes even on rest, palpitations (feeling one’s heartbeat) and increased heart rate. There is trouble in breathing and the person has to wake up because if shortness of breath. There is also excessive urination, especially at night. The symptoms usually begin suddenly when you are having a cardiac arrest that will destroy the muscles of the mitral valve and cords or an infection that leads to dysfunction of the valve.

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Tests To Diagnose Mitral Valve Disease

The heart sounds will show presence of a distinctive murmur on auscultation, and extra abnormal heart sound might be present. There is presence of crackling sounds in the chest when fluid buildup is there in the lungs. The physical examination for mitral valve disease will show swelling over the ankles extending up to the legs, abdominal swelling on the right side suggestive of liver enlargement, neck veins that are prominent or bulging that signify right-sided heart failure.

The other tests done to look for the heart valve structure and function are CT scan, echocardiogram or ECG and MRI may be needed. Cardiac catheterization is done when the condition of the heart is severe.

Treatment Of Mitral Valve Disease

The mitral valve disease treatment usually depends upon the symptoms and the condition of the patient and functioning of the heart along with presence or absence of heart enlargement. The medications such as beta blockers are given to reduce workload on heart and decrease resistance to flow of blood, drugs to make blood thin and diuretics are given to control BP to ease the symptoms when they get worse.

Surgery is required when the functioning of the heart is poor; dilatation or enlargement of the heart takes place or there is worsening of symptoms. The complications are heart failure; clots might travel to lungs or brain, abnormal heart rhythms and infection of heart valve. The outcome of the disease is good for mild form of disease where it can be controlled by therapy and modification of lifestyle but severe form of disease needs repair of the valve or replacement.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 19, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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