The mitral valve lets blood flow from the upper to lower areas of the heart. Mitral valve regurgitation occurs when the valve cannot close all the way and blood backs up (regurgitates) into the upper area of the heart. This causes the heart to work harder to pump the extra blood.
Mild regurgitation causes few problems. Many people have it for many years without having problems. But if the regurgitation is severe, it can weaken the heart and lead to heart failure.
The causes of mitral valve regurgitation include a heart attack, heart infection (endocarditis), mitral valve prolapse, cardiomyopathy, calcium buildup in the heart, the weight-loss medicine fen-phen, and diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Some people are born with the valve problem.
Your doctor may just want to watch your health closely if you have mild mitral valve regurgitation. For more severe disease, you may need medicine or surgery to fix the valve.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you develop new symptoms.
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Current as of:
January 27, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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