Mitral valve disease occurs when there is a defect in the mitral valve and it fails to close completely when the ventricles contract, leading to backflow of blood into the atrium. It can either be caused due to mitral valve regurgitation, mitral valve stenosis or mitral valve prolapse all of which constitute mitral valve disease. They lead to excess stress on the heart as it has to pump blood harder for it to reach different parts of the body.
Life Expectancy For Mitral Valve Disease
Mitral valve disease can lead to life-threatening complications such as heart failure, arrhythmias, and stroke if left untreated. The life expectancy for patients with mild type of mitral valve disease is good without therapy and restriction and the symptoms if any can be controlled by medication. Surgery might be required for people with severe kind of mitral valve disease that includes valvuloplasty or repair of the valves. Severe primary mitral regurgitation can be fatal if left untreated or unattended. Successful mitral valve repair has shown to restore normal functioning of the heart and has better success rate than valve replacement. Despite the success rate of mitral valve repair it is done less often than valve replacement, which usually puts the patient at more risk of developing cardiac failure in future.
Surgery is only indicated in patients with severe type of mitral valve disease and should not be done for patients who do not have obvious or severe symptoms that hamper day to day activities. For effective results of patients with mitral regurgitation the doctors must ensure that they have expertise and experience in performing the procedures.
Degenerative valve disease is the most common type of mitral regurgitation which has symptoms of severe fatigue and breathlessness. It is a progressive condition and if not treated on time it might lead to heart failure and ultimately death. Medical treatment does not usually improve this condition and mitral valve repair has shown positive results as far as life expectancy and restoration of normal life is considered. For a successful valve repair, it must be able to completely prevent regurgitation and must limit the symptoms or development of left ventricular dysfunction.
Surgical replacement of aortic valves has shown promise in prolonging life of the mitral valve disease patient. It also allows the person with heart disease a near normal life experience. People who had undergone surgery to replace a stenosed aortic heart valve have shown less survival rate as compared to people who are not diseased. Surgery also decreases the risk of formation of a stroke. According to studies performed, ten years after surgery most people (94%) still had normal functioning of the heart and completely healthy valve, but in another ten years the valves efficacy decreased by 48%. Bioprosthetic valves were found to be safer, but they had to be monitored after first ten years of surgery to see if they were healthy and needed replacement.
Management Of Mitral Valve Disease
Apart from medication it is also important to modify your lifestyle in order to prevent complications. A healthy lifestyle should be adopted with a diet free of carbohydrates and fats. Milk and dairy products should be avoided as they are known to precipitate symptoms of mitral valve disease such as shortness of breath and palpitations. Tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks should also be avoided as they lead to rise in blood pressure. Intake of salt should be restricted as it leads to accumulation of fluid in the lungs and body thereby increasing workload on the heart.
Alcohol and cigarette smoking can also increase heart rate and smoking is especially injurious to your lungs. It leads to congestion of lungs and also lowers a person’s immunity (body’s defense mechanism). Stress is another factor that can affect the heart condition by worsening the symptoms and putting a patient at more risk of going into heart failure. Any strenuous activity would put a patient’s health at risk by rapidly increasing the heart rate.
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