All about mitral regurgitation

Written by: Top Doctors®
Published: | Updated: 06/11/2023
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Mitral valve regurgitation is a result of a dysfunction of the mitral valve, one of the left-sided heart valves. It results in a leaking valve during the pump cycle of the heart, allowing blood to flow in both directions.


Some flows from the ventricle through the aortic valve, as it should, while some flows back into the atrium. This causes the blood pressure in the lungs to rise, which can, in turn, lead to a number of complications.

Man with mitral regurgitation with hand to his chest


What are the causes and symptoms?

Usually patients suffer from symptoms associated with left-sided heart failure such as shortness of breath. At the beginning, this breathlessness may only appear during exercise.


However, the longer the mitral regurgitation exists, the more the symptoms affect the patients’ lives and the more the heart muscle is damaged.


Often patients with mitral regurgitation also suffer from what is called atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart beat, which is not only very uncomfortable, but also increases the risk of a stroke.



How is it treated?

The most effective treatment for mitral regurgitation is mitral valve repair, feasible in more than 95 per cent of patients. Surgeons need to be capable of using a number of new surgical techniques, which have been developed to address the various malfunctions of the heart valve.


In cases where the valve cannot be repaired, it must be replaced using an artificial prosthesis. It is most important to preserve the full functional apparatus of the mitral valve during surgery to improve the outcome of surgery.



Are there any new procedures and treatments for mitral regurgitation you would like to highlight?

Over recent years surgical techniques to replace mitral valve chords, structures which hold the valves in place, have been developed. Using this technique, named ‘chordal replacement’, the success rate of mitral valve repair rate has approached 100 per cent and the risk of surgery is very low.


In patients who also suffer from atrial fibrillation at the time of surgery, another procedure can be carried out which normalises the patient's heart rhythm, known as atrial ablation surgery




If you experience mitral regurgitation, arrange an appointment with one of our cardiology specialists today.  


By Topdoctors
Cardiothoracic surgery

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