How Common Is Mitral Valve Regurgitation?

How Common Is Mitral Valve Regurgitation?

Mitral valve regurgitation is a common heart problem. Mitral valve regurgitation is also called as mitral insufficiency or mitral incompetence. There has been an increase in the population suffering from mitral valve regurgitation. It is expected that the population suffering from mitral valve regurgitation will increase to 5 million in the United States. There will be a deficiency of oxygen-rich blood in the body due to incomplete closure of the valve. A heart murmur is the initial symptom of mitral valve prolapse, the most common cause of mitral valve regurgitation. The initial and mild form of the disease does not produce any symptoms, as the disease progresses the heart is unable to function properly. There will be weakening of the muscles which further complicates the situation resulting in congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension. There will be chest pain and breathing problem.

Asymptomatic mitral valve regurgitation does not affect the quality of life and does not warn about the progression of the disease. The symptoms of mitral regurgitation start as cough, fatigue, exhaustion, rapid breathing or shortness of breath, palpitations, excessive urination, etc. Mitral regurgitation symptoms may appear suddenly due to damage of the heart muscles around the mitral valve due to heart attack, endocarditis, and Mitral valve prolapse (MVP), etc.

Among the valvular heart disease, MVP (Mitral valve prolapsed) is the most common one. Regurgitation of blood from the left ventricle into the atrium pumps less amount of blood as compared to the normal heart. This is due to incomplete closure of the mitral valve and the body does not receive adequate quantity of oxygenated blood. MVP causes mitral valve regurgitation in 3-8% of the population. The occurrence of rheumatic heart disease has been reduced to null in developed countries like in the United States. Previously rheumatic heart disease was the leading cause of valvular heart disease. The occurrence of mitral valve regurgitation in the Middle and the Far East, South America and Australia is higher. The reason for mitral valve regurgitation in these regions is rheumatic heart disease.

The untreated mitral valve regurgitation can result in shortness of breath, pulmonary hypertension, fluid buildup, fatigue, and death. Early intervention in the form of surgery can significantly provide benefits. The previous thinking of “wait and watch” has changed and the repair of the valve which does not produce symptoms is considered a good option by many cardiologists.

As per a study from Mitral Regurgitation International Database of 1,021 patients, there have been improvements in mortality rate and long-term survival rates. The study was based on 6 centers from France, Italy, Belgium, and the United States. The data had monitored patients which had undergone surgery within 3 months of diagnosis and rest with medical monitoring saving the surgery option for the emergency medical situation.

Patients are advised to undergo repair and replacement of the valve and the success rate has been appealing and the occurrence of mortality rate has been significantly reduced to one percent when compared to the mortality rate in the 1980s. The long-term survival rates were higher in patients who were operated within 3 months of diagnosis. In addition to the survival rates, there has been decreased risk of heart failure.


Mitral valve regurgitation is a common heart valve problem, where there is a backward flow of blood from ventricles to the atrium. The heart requires extra energy to pump the blood. A small amount of mitral regurgitation is common and it does not produce any symptoms. There has been a regular increase in the population suffering from mitral valve regurgitation, the most common cause of which seems to be mitral valve prolapsed. There have been more than 95% of cases of mitral valve repair success. The mortality rate has been reduced to less than 1 percent. By 2030 about 5 million people are expected to be suffering from mitral valve regurgitation.

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Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 7, 2019

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