Background

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Heart valve disease occurs when one or more heart valves fail to open and close properly.  This can affect the ability of the heart to pump blood.  There are mainly two types of problems that can disrupt blood flow through the valves, namely, regurgitation (incompetence) or stenosis (narrowing).

Mitral valve regurgitation is defined as backflow (leaking) of blood from the left ventricle into the left atrium of the heart due to insufficient valve closure. It is often the result of aging or disease. Symptoms include light-headedness, shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain.  While small leaks are usually not considered a problem, more severe cases weaken the heart over time and can lead to heart failure.  Two percent of adults suffer from mitral regurgitation, while in over 75 years of age almost 10% of individuals are affected.

Mitral valve regurgitation can be either degenerative (DMR;  caused by mitral valve prolapse due to elongation or rupture of chordae) or functional (FMR; secondary to left ventricular remodelling (change in ventricle size and shape) or atrial dilatation resulting in insufficient leaflet closure).