Can Mitral Valve Regurgitation Cause Death?

Mitral valve regurgitation is the condition that may or may not show symptoms. In mild to moderate conditions, the patient experienced mild symptoms which are not life-threatening. In some chronic cases, the patient presents the symptoms which require immediate medical attention.

Can Mitral Valve Regurgitation Cause Death?

Can Mitral Valve Regurgitation Cause Death?

Mitral valve regurgitation may cause sudden death. This is due to acute heart failure and ventricular instability. The condition also becomes complicated due to ventricular dysfunction, cardiomyopathy, and autonomous nervous system irregularity. Acute mitral valve regurgitation causes damage to the heart due to damage of muscles.

The damage to the heart may also be caused due to an infective condition known as endocarditis. Mitral valve prolapse, which is primarily responsible for mitral valve regurgitation results in atrial fibrillation, and pulmonary hypertension. The severity of the mitral valve regurgitation depends upon the quantity of blood that leaks from the ventricle back to the auricle. Severe cases of mitral valve regurgitation also lead to clot formation and thromboembolism.

Other complications of mitral valve regurgitation include swelling in the legs, fatigue and dizziness. When there is considerable backflow of the blood, the organs of the body do not get the proper supply of blood. The most affected organ is the brain. Thus, severe mitral valve regurgitation leads to nausea, dizziness, and fainting.

In most of the cases, no treatment or general treatment is required to manage the symptoms. Surgical intervention is required in some cases which involves repair it replacing the mitral valve. The condition is also managed by using drugs such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers. For conditions such as endocarditis in mitral valve regurgitation, antibiotics are advised.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation Complications

Untreated or unmanaged mitral valve regurgitation may lead to the following complications:

Heart Failure. As the blood flows in the backward direction i.e. from the left ventricle to left auricle due to mitral valve insufficiency, it leads to extra stress on the heart for supplying an optimum amount of blood to the organs. This increases significant pressure on the heart and the heart may fail.

Pulmonary Hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is caused due to mitral valve regurgitation. As the blood flows back into the auricle there is a compensatory dilation of auricle and ventricle. A chronic condition may lead to systolic and diastolic dysfunction. Further, the backflow of the blood in the auricle creates excess pressure on the pulmonary vessel, leading to pulmonary hypertension.

Infective Endocarditis. Mitral valve prolapse, and mitral valve regurgitation may lead to infective endocarditis. People with chronic mitral valve regurgitation are at higher risk of developing infective endocarditis. This is a serious condition characterized by the presence of infection and inflammation in the inner lining of the heart and also involves heart valves.

Thromboembolism. As the flow of the blood gets reduced due to chronic and severe mitral valve regurgitation, there is a high risk of clotting inside the vessels. The formed clot may move through the blood and may block the flow of blood in vital organs.

Atrial Fibrillation. Mitral valve regurgitation may lead to abnormal electrical impulses in the heart. This leads to an abnormal rhythm of the heart leading to atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a serious condition which leads to a rapid heart rate that increases the risk of cardiovascular complications such as heart failure and may also lead to strokes.

Cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is the condition characterized by the disease involving the muscles of the heart. This is the disease of the heart muscles which makes the heart unable to create the required pressure on the blood. This leads to a reduced flow of the blood throughout the body. Cardiomyopathy also leads to heart failure as the heart has to create more pressure due to mitral valve regurgitation.


Various complications, both acute and chronic, may develop due to mitral valve regurgitation. Death may occur due to acute mitral valve regurgitation due to ventricular dysfunction and heart failure. Other complications include pulmonary hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and infective endocarditis.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 22, 2023

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