Mitral valve regurgitation is the condition in which the flow of blood in left auricle and left ventricle becomes bidirectional due to mitral valve insufficiency. This leads to murmuring sound in the heart. In some cases, the disease becomes progressive and symptoms worsen.
Can Mitral Valve Regurgitation Get Worse?
Mitral valve regurgitation, in most of the patients, presents no or very mild symptoms. However, in some patients, this disease may worsen leading to various complications. The symptoms of the mitral valve regurgitation may either disappear or remains same or may worsen depending upon the progression of the condition.
The severity of the condition increases with the increase in leakage of blood from the left ventricle back into the left auricle. As the leakage of blood increases, the patient experiences more severe symptoms. Although the condition is present in the heart, the symptoms are not confined only to the heart. The patient also experiences the peripheral symptoms due to mitral valve regurgitation.
The symptoms related to the heart include atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and infective endocarditis. The peripheral symptoms include thromboembolism, pulmonary hypertension, swelling, fatigue, and dizziness. Mitral valve regurgitation may lead to serious complications if not properly managed.
The treatment strategy available for mitral valve regurgitation includes diuretics, antihypertensive drugs including beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers. Other drugs include antibiotics and blood-thinning agents such as aspirin. In some cases, surgery is required. Surgery is done to repair or replace the valve however repairing the valve is preferred as replacing the valve involves various side effects.
Symptoms Of Mitral Valve Regurgitation
Following symptoms are presented by the patient suffering from mitral valve regurgitation:
Chest Pain. Heart is under stress during mitral valve regurgitation and has to apply excess pressure in order to sufficient supply the blood to various organs. This may cause chest pain.
Fatigue. Oxygen and other nutrients are required for the proper functioning of the body and to generate energy. Reduced blood flow leads to reduced oxygen and nutrients causing fatigue and weakness.
Central Nervous System Disorders. The organ which is most affected due to mitral valve regurgitation is the brain. The brain requires an uninterrupted supply of sufficient oxygen. mitral valve regurgitation leads to confusion, dizziness, and nausea.
Rapid Heartbeat. Increased force generation requires increased electrical conductivity. This leads to a rapid heartbeat.
Pulmonary Hypertension. Backflow of blood into the auricle from the ventricle creates pressure in the pulmonary vessels leading to pulmonary hypertension. In the initial stage of mitral valve regurgitation, dilation of auricle and ventricle took place. In the later stage, there is both systolic and diastolic dysfunction.
Swollen Ankles. Reduced blood flow leads to fluid buildup in various organs, especially ankles. Diuretics are administered to reduce swelling.
Blood Clogging. Blood clotting and thromboembolism can also be caused due to mitral valve regurgitation. Clotting and embolism may lead to serious consequences.
Shortness Of Breath. As the oxygen supply in the body is reduced, the lungs have to breathe at the fullest to compensate for the reduced oxygen. This leads to the patient feeling shortness of breath.
Following methods are used by the doctors for diagnosis of mitral valve regurgitation.
Echocardiogram. This test is done to identify the flow of blood inside the heart. The transducer is kept on the heart which provides a working image of the heart. Advanced echocardiogram such as transesophageal echocardiogram is also used.
Imaging Techniques. Various imaging techniques are used to diagnose mitral valve regurgitation. Chest X-ray is done to evaluate the engagement of the heart. MRI is done to access the severity of the disease.
Electrocardiogram. Electrocardiogram is used to diagnose the conditions such as atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia. These conditions may also be caused by mitral valve regurgitation.
Stress Tests. Stress test is done to evaluate the functional capacity of the heart.
Mitral valve regurgitation may worsen, leading to complications such as atrial fibrillation, pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, thromboembolism, swelling in ankles and cardiomyopathy.