Mitral Valve Regurgitation
Mitral valve regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve does not close tightly. When the valve fails to close properly, blood leaks backwards across the valve. As the leak worsens, the heart has to work harder to make up for the leaky valve and less blood may flow to the rest of the body.
Chronic mitral valve regurgitation, the most common type, is often caused by simple wear and tear. As a person gets older, the valve can grow weak and no longer closes tightly. Other causes can include congenital heart disease, rheumatic fever and calcium buildup.
Acute mitral valve regurgitation develops quickly and can be life-threatening. It occurs when the valve or tissues close to the valve rupture and blood builds up quickly in the left side of the heart. Causes can include heart attack and endocarditis, an infection of the heart tissue.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Tests that may be used to confirm diagnosis of mitral valve regurgitation include echocardiogram, electrocardiogram and cardiac catheterization.
In some cases, mitral valve regurgitation can be treated with medications such as diuretics to reduce the workload on the heart or medications to help control the heart rate. A cardiologist can determine which medications may be appropriate for your condition.
When medication therapy isn't successful in controlling the condition, valve repair or valve replacement may be necessary.