Mitral Valve Regurgitation
Causes of Mitral Valve Regurgitation
- Mitral valve prolapse (mitral valve does not close properly)
- Damaged tissue
- Congenital defects
- A prior heart attack
- Rheumatic fever
- Endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves)
Some risks include:
- Mitral valve prolapse or mitral valve stenosis: If you have a history of either one of these conditions, you may be at increased risk of developing mitral valve regurgitation.
- Prior heart attack: A heart attack may damage your heart in a way that affects the ability of the mitral valve to close properly.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as ergotamine or pergolide (and other products no longer available), have been associated with an increased risk of developing mitral valve regurgitation.
- Congenital heart disease: Anyone who is born with an abnormal mitral valve is more likely to experience mitral valve regurgitation.
If you have any of the following symptoms, it does not mean that you have mitral valve regurgitation. However, if you are experiencing the following symptoms, please contact your doctor, as severe mitral valve regurgitation that is left untreated can lead to other serious heart-related conditions.
- Heart murmur
- Shortness of breath, especially when your activity level is increased
- Lightheadedness or fainting
- Coughing, especially at night or when lying flat
- Heart palpitations or a rapid fluttering heartbeat
- Swelling of the feet or ankles
Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram uses sound waves to create an image of the heart. Our surgeons can examine the image of the heart and the mitral valve to determine the cause of the mitral valve regurgitation and if it can be repaired or requires replacement.
Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE): This is the most common way of performing an echocardiogram where images of the heart are obtained through the chest wall.
Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE): This type of echocardiogram requires passing a probe down your esophagus. It is more invasive, requiring sedation, but allows for an even clearer image of the heart than transthoracic echocardiograms. TEE is sometimes required prior to mitral valve surgery.
Holter monitor: A Holter monitor is used to detect irregularities in the heart’s rhythm, which may be a sign of mitral valve regurgitation. This is a portable device usually worn by patients for anywhere from 24 to 72 hours and acts as a continuous ECG.
Exercise tests: Exercise tests are designed to measure the heart’s response to various levels of exertion to provide a better understanding of what is happening in the heart.
Cardiac catheterization: This can be used to diagnose mitral valve regurgitation but is generally used to check if you have concomitant coronary artery disease.