Your heart has four valves, including the mitral valve. This valve is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle. It features two flaps, or leaflets, which keep the blood moving in the right direction. If your heart doctor diagnoses you with mitral valve regurgitation, it means that the valve doesn’t close properly. This causes blood to regurgitate back up into the heart, rather than out of the heart.
Conditions that can inflict damage on the mitral valve may cause mitral valve regurgitation. For example, your heart doctor may determine that you have mitral valve prolapse, which occurs when one or both of the leaflets on the mitral valve protrude into the left atrium. Another possible cause is rheumatic fever, which is an infection that can cause scarring and deformity of the leaflets. A heart attack can also place you at risk of mitral valve regurgitation.
Mitral valve regurgitation may not always cause symptoms, particularly when there is a low volume of blood being regurgitated. Over time; however, symptoms such as shortness of breath or an abnormal heart rhythm may develop. Patients with mitral valve regurgitation are at an increased risk of heart failure. If heart failure develops, the symptoms can include fatigue, problems breathing, loss of appetite, weight gain caused by fluid retention, and swollen ankles and feet.
Your cardiologists may determine that treatment isn’t necessary if your heart has a normal size and if you do not experience any symptoms. However, you may need to take antibiotics before having dental work or undergoing certain medical procedures. If you do need to undergo treatment for the condition, you may start taking drugs that dilate the blood vessels. Unfortunately, these drugs aren’t typically the best option for long-term management. Patients with moderate to severe mitral valve regurgitation often require surgery to repair or replace the valve.
At Cardiac Solutions , you’ll find a team of caring cardiologists near Phoenix, Avondale, and Sun City West. We provide compassionate care for patients with heart conditions, including mitral valve regurgitation, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and many others. You can contact our clinic at (623) 876-8816 or browse our website for information about our advanced treatment options.