Mitral valve regurgitation: symptoms and causes (2023)


Mitral valve regurgitation is a type of heart valve disease in which the valve between the left ventricles of the heart does not close completely, allowing blood to leak backwards through the valve. It is the most common form of heart valve disease (heart valve disease). If the leak is severe, not enough blood is flowing to the heart or the rest of the body. As a result, mitral regurgitation can make you feel very tired (tired) or short of breath.

Other names for mitral regurgitation include:

  • Mitral insufficiency (MI)
  • Mitral insufficiency
  • Mitral insufficiency

Treatment for mitral valve regurgitation may include regular exams, medication, or surgery. Some people with mitral regurgitation don't need treatment, especially if the regurgitation is mild.

Severe mitral regurgitation usually requires catheterization or cardiac surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve. Without proper treatment, severe mitral valve regurgitation can lead to abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or heart failure.

Video: Mitral valve regurgitation

The mitral valve is located between the upper left chamber of the heart (left atrium) and the lower left chamber of the heart (left ventricle). A healthy mitral valve keeps blood flowing in the right direction. A leaking valve does not close properly, allowing some blood to back up into the left atrium. Left untreated, a leaky valve can lead to heart failure.


Mitral regurgitation is usually mild and progressive. Some people with mitral valve regurgitation may not have any symptoms for many years.

(Video) Listen to a Mitral Regurgitation heart murmur - and learn about causes, symptoms and treatment!

But sometimes mitral regurgitation develops quickly. This condition, called acute mitral valve regurgitation, causes sudden signs and symptoms.

Fatigue is a common but nonspecific symptom of mitral regurgitation. Other signs and symptoms of mitral regurgitation include:

  • sound of blood flowing through the valve (heart murmur)
  • irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnoea), especially when lying down
  • feeling of a fast, pounding, or pounding heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Swollen feet or ankles (edema)

When to the doctor

If you develop symptoms that suggest mitral valve regurgitation or another heart problem, see your doctor right away.

If you have a heart murmur, you may be referred to a heart doctor (cardiologist).

Ask for an appointment

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(Video) What are the symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation?


chambers and valves of the heart

Mitral valve regurgitation: symptoms and causes (1)

(Video) Mitral valve regurgitation: Mayo Clinic Radio

chambers and valves of the heart

A typical heart has two upper chambers and two lower chambers. The upper chambers, the right and left atria, receive incoming blood. The lower chambers, the more muscular right and left ventricles, pump blood out of the heart. The heart valves, which keep blood flowing in the right direction, are doors in the openings of the ventricles.

To understand the causes of mitral valve disease, it can be helpful to know how the heart works.

The mitral valve is one of the four valves in the heart that keep blood flowing in the right direction. Each valve has flaps (leaflets) that open and close once during each heartbeat. When a valve doesn't open or close properly, it can reduce blood flow from the heart to the body.

In mitral valve regurgitation, the valves do not close properly. When the valve is closed, blood leaks backwards, making it difficult for the heart to work properly.

Mitral valve prolapse and regurgitation

Mitral valve regurgitation: symptoms and causes (2)

Mitral valve prolapse and regurgitation

The mitral valve separates the two chambers on the left side of the heart. In mitral valve prolapse, the valves bulge into the upper left ventricle with every heartbeat. A mitral valve prolapse can cause blood to leak backwards, a condition called mitral valve regurgitation.

(Video) Symptoms of Mitral Valve Disease

When the mitral regurgitation is due to problems with the mitral valve, it is called primary mitral regurgitation.

When a problem or disease affecting other areas of the heart causes the mitral valve to leak, it is called secondary or functional mitral regurgitation.

Possible causes of mitral regurgitation include:

  • Mitralklappenprolaps.In this condition, the mitral valves bulge into the heart's upper left chamber (atrium) as the heart contracts. This common heart problem can prevent the mitral valve from closing tightly and allowing blood to backflow.
  • Rheumatic fever.Rheumatic fever is a complication of untreated strep throat. Rheumatic fever can damage the mitral valve and cause mitral regurgitation sooner or later in life. When rheumatic fever causes mitral valve disease, the condition is called rheumatic mitral valve disease. Rheumatic fever is rare in the United States.
  • Heart attack.A heart attack can damage the part of the heart muscle that supports the mitral valve. If the damage from the heart attack is extensive, the event can cause a sudden and severe regurgitation of the mitral valve. A leaky mitral valve caused by a heart attack is called ischemic mitral regurgitation.
  • Heart problem present at birth (congenital heart disease).Some people are born with problems with the heart's structure, including damaged heart valves.
  • Thickening of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy).Cardiomyopathy makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. The condition can impair the function of the mitral valve and lead to regurgitation. Types of cardiomyopathy associated with mitral regurgitation include dilated cardiomyopathy and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  • Damaged fabric laces.Over time, the pieces of tissue that attach the mitral valves to the heart wall can stretch or tear, particularly in people with mitral valve prolapse. A rupture can cause blood to suddenly leak through the mitral valve and may require surgery to repair the mitral valve. A chest injury can also cause the cords to snap.
  • Endocarditis.The mitral valve can be damaged by infection of the lining of the heart (endocarditis), which can affect the heart valves.
  • Radiotherapy.In rare cases, radiation therapy for cancer that focuses on the chest area can cause mitral regurgitation.

risk factors

Several things can increase the risk of mitral regurgitation, including:

  • Certain infections affecting the heart
  • Heart attack
  • Heart problems present at birth (congenital heart disease)
  • History of other heart valve disorders, including mitral valve prolapse and mitral valve stenosis
  • old man
  • irradiation of the breast


Complications of mitral regurgitation generally depend on the severity of the disease. Mild mitral regurgitation is not usually a problem.

As mitral regurgitation gets worse, the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. Stress on the heart can cause the lower left ventricle to enlarge. The heart muscle can become weak.

Possible complications of severe mitral regurgitation include:

  • Irregular and often rapid heartbeat (atrial fibrillation).Enlargement of the upper left chamber of the heart (atrium) caused by mitral regurgitation can trigger this common abnormal heart rhythm. Atrial fibrillation has been linked to an increased risk of blood clots and stroke.
  • High pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension).If left untreated or inadequately treated over the long term, mitral regurgitation can increase the pressure in the blood vessels in the lungs. As the pressure increases, fluid builds up in the lungs.
  • heart failure.With severe mitral regurgitation, the heart has to work harder to pump enough blood around the body. The extra effort makes the lower left chamber of the heart (ventricle) larger. If left untreated, the heart muscle becomes weak. This can lead to heart failure.

By Mayo Clinic staff

(Video) Understanding Mitral Regurgitation Signs and Symptoms

February 08, 2022


1. Mitral Reguritation (insufficiency) - Overview (signs and symptoms, pathophysiology, treatment)
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2. Mitral Valve Regurgitation
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3. Asymptomatic Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Risks & Treatment with Dr. James Thomas
4. Leaky Heart Valve: Causes & Symptoms
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