Mitral valve regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve, one of the heart’s four valves, fails to close properly as a result of changes in the valve tissue, permitting blood to leak back into the upper chamber (left atrium, LA) each time the left ventricle (LV) contracts.
Mitral regurgitation (MR) is becoming increasingly more prevalent, currently among the most common type of moderate or severe heart valve disease seen in adults over the age of 55.
MR is categorized as either primary, or degenerative, mitral regurgitation (DMR), or secondary, or functional, mitral regurgitation (FMR). DMR is the result of an anatomical valve abnormality present from birth or related to heart disease, coronary artery disease, or a history of rheumatic feature. The abnormality prevents the valve leaflets (also known as “flaps” or “cusps”) from coapting (open and close) properly.
Secondary MR occurs when the leaflets are normal but fail to coapt properly, as a result of changes to the left ventricular and mitral annulus prompted by cardiomyopathies.
According to the American College of Cardiology, most MR cases are functional.
Mild cases of MR may be asymptomatic and not require intervention, though more severe cases may cause shortness of breath, blood clots and heart failure.
Severe MR can be caused by more than one valve abnormality. The right treatment will depend on the type and severity of the MR. If a transcatheter mitral intervention is indicated, the type of therapy will depend on the patient’s mitral valve pathology.
Some tests commonly used to detect mitral regurgitation include: