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Mitral regurgitation

Publisher/Author : Pacific Cross

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Mitral regurgitation

Know the basics

What is mitral regurgitation?

The mitral valve in the heart is between the left atrium (a chamber in the top part of the heart). It opens when the atrium pumps blood into the ventricle and closes when the ventricle pumps blood out into the body.

Closing prevents the blood from going back into the atrium. Blood leaking back into the atrium from the ventricle is called regurgitation (or insufficiency or incompetence).

Blood isn’t pumped out of the heart properly, and the atrium cannot fill during the net cycle. Blood may back up in the right-sided system (to the lungs) and cause lungs to fill with fluid. The left ventricle then has to do more work to move blood. This extra work may later cause heart failure.

How common is mitral regurgitation?

Mitral regurgitation can occur in any places or races. Mitral regurgitation is usually diagnosed in middle-aged or older. You can  minimize the chance of having hernias by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of mitral regurgitation?

People with a small defect have no symptoms. People often live for years without knowing that they have this condition. Symptoms developing after a few years usually include:

  • Tiredness and shortness of breath (dyspnea), especially with exertion or when you lie down;
  • Blood flowing turbulently through your heart (heart murmur);
  • Heart palpitations — sensations of a rapid, fluttering heartbeat;
  • Sweating feet or elbows.

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

Meet your doctor if you have side effects from medicines or new or worsening symptoms include:

  • Heart murmur;
  • Frequent and increasing Angina;
  • Shortness of breath when resting;
  • Fatigue;
  • Heart palpitations — sensations of a rapid, fluttering heartbeat;
  • Swollen feet or ankles.

Know the causes

What causes mitral regurgitation?

The cause is damage to the mitral valve. Damage may result from a congenital abnormality (present at birth) or a heart attack.

Other causes are:

  • Infections such as rheumatic fever (from streptococcal infections such as strep throat);
  • Connective tissue disorders such as lupus;
  • Inherited conditions such as Marfan syndrome;
  • Mitral valve prolapse also can lead to mitral regurgitation.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for mitral regurgitation?

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing Mitral regurgitation:

A history of mitral valve prolapse or mitral valve stenosis.

  • A heart attack. A heart attack can damage your heart, affecting the function of the mitral valve.
  • Certain forms of heart disease, such as coronary artery disease;
  • Use of certain medications: drugs containing ergotamine (Cafergot, Migergot), similar medicines for migraines, pergolide, cabergoline, the appetite suppressants fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine;
  • Infections such as endocarditis or rheumatic fever;
  • Congenital heart disease;
  • Age. By middle age, many people have some mitral valve regurgitation caused by natural deterioration of the valve.

Not having risk factors does not mean you can not get hamstring strains. These factors are for reference only. You should consult  your doctor for more details.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is mitral regurgitation diagnosed?

For mild condition, medicines are used to prevent complications. Surgery consisting of mitral valve replacement is done when regurgitation worsens and medicines don’t work to control symptoms.

How is mitral regurgitation treated?

The doctor can make a diagnosis by listening to heart sounds. Blood moves abnormally through the mitral valve and causes a sound called a murmur. The doctor hears the murmur help the doctor with a stethoscope.

The doctor may also order sonography of the heart (echocardiography), chest x-rays, and electrocardiography (ECG) to confirm the diagnosis. The x-rays (arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation) can occur and may cause palpitations or irregular heart beat.

Read more: Mitral stenosis – Symptoms and causes

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage mitral regurgitation?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with mitral regurgitation :

  • Re-examine punctually to keep track on the disease’s progress and your health condition.
  • Follow doctor’s instruction, take medicines as directed
  • Limit fluid and salt in your diet if you have symptoms of heart failure
  • Exercise under the guidance of a physician

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.


Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Print Edition. Page 37.
Porter, R. S., Kaplan, J. L., Homeier, B. P., & Albert, R. K. (2009). The Merck manual home health handbook. Whitehouse Station, NJ, Merck Research Laboratories. Print Edition. Page 378.

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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