One of four heart valves, the mitral valve is located on the left side of the heart between the left atrium and the left ventricle. It has two leaflets (also referred to as “cusps” or “flaps”), anteromedial and posterolateral. The opening of the mitral valve is surrounded by a fibrous ring known as the mitral annulus.
Resembling an umbrella comprised of leaflets opening and closing with each heartbeat, the mitral valve allows blood to pass from the atrium into the ventricle when open and prevents blood from returning to the atrium when closed.
While a healthy mitral valve pumps blood in one direction, a damaged valve can disrupt the proper flow of blood through the heart.
Detecting and Diagnosing Mitral Valve Disease
In many patients with mitral valve disease, symptoms may go undetected until it becomes more serious.
In some patients symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Persistent cough
Some test commonly used to detect mitral valve disease include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Chest X-ray
- Cardiac MRI
- Cardiac CT
- Exercise or stress tests
- Cardiac catheterization