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Understanding Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Mitral valve regurgitation, also known as a leaky valve, occurs when the valve between the heart’s left chambers fails to close completely, allowing blood to leak backward. This condition can lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, and swelling in the ankles or feet. While some symptoms may develop slowly, others can arise suddenly, affecting heart function and overall well-being.

Diagnosing and Staging Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Diagnosing mitral valve regurgitation requires a thorough evaluation by our experienced healthcare team. Common diagnostic tests include echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, and cardiac catheterization. Through staging, we assess the severity of the condition and tailor treatment plans accordingly. Our goal is to improve heart function, reduce symptoms, and enhance your quality of life.

Slow or sudden symptoms

Mitral valve regurgitation can make you feel short of breath or tired from the lack of blood flow through the heart.

Other symptoms of a leaky valve include:

  • Arrhythmia: irregular heartbeat.
  • Edema: swollen ankles or feet.
  • Heart murmur: sounds of blood flow across the valve.
  • Heart palpitations: a sensation of a rapid, pounding or fluttering heartbeat.

The symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation may develop slowly and be mild. For some people, symptoms may not develop for many years.

In other cases, the leaky valve develops suddenly. This is called acute mitral valve regurgitation.

Severe, symptomatic mitral valve regurgitation can weaken the heart and lower life expectancy if not treated.

Diagnosing mitral valve regurgitation

Your healthcare team will confirm a diagnosis of mitral valve regurgitation after a thorough exam and testing. This is necessary as other heart conditions can cause similar symptoms to a leaky valve.

Common tests for mitral valve regurgitation include chest X-ray, cardiac MRI, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, exercise tests or cardiac catheterization.

Through testing, your healthcare team may tell you the stage of your disease. The stage of the disease is based on symptoms, severity, structure of the valve and blood flow through the heart. The most appropriate treatment option can be determined through staging.

The four stages of heart valve disease are:

  • Stage A — At risk
    Heart valve disease risk factors are present.
  • Stage B — Progressive
    Valve disease is mild to moderate, but there are no heart valve symptoms.
  • Stage C — Asymptomatic severe
    Valve disease is severe, but there are no heart valve symptoms.
  • Stage D — Symptomatic severe
    Valve disease is severe and causes symptoms.

Treatment for leaky valve

The goal of treatment is to improve heart function and reduce symptoms. This may include regular monitoring, medication, valve repair or valve replacement.

For severe cases, the healthcare team may recommend repairing a leaky valve with open heart mitral valve repair or replacement surgery. In suitable patients, the mitral valve also can be repaired without open heart surgery using a catheter-based endovascular procedure.

Your healthcare team will discuss your symptoms and stage of disease with you when evaluating treatment options.

Transcatheter edge-to-edge repair

Transcatheter edge-to-edge repair, or TEER, of the mitral valve is an alternative to traditional open-heart surgery to treat a leaky valve. The minimally invasive procedure is performed in a cardiac catheterization lab.

During the TEER procedure, the leaky valve is accessed with a catheter, or thin tube, passed through the right femoral vein in the leg to the heart. A small, implanted clip is attached to the valve to help it close more completely, restoring regular blood flow through the heart. The recovery is quicker because a large chest incision is not needed.

Treatment Options: While severe cases of mitral valve regurgitation may require open-heart surgery, TEER offers a less invasive alternative for eligible patients. During the TEER procedure, a small clip is implanted on the leaky valve using a catheter inserted through the leg, eliminating the need for a large chest incision. This innovative approach restores regular blood flow through the heart with quicker recovery times and fewer complications.

Is TEER Right for You? If you’re experiencing symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation or have been diagnosed with the condition, our expert cardiologists can determine if TEER is a suitable option for you. We’ll carefully evaluate your individual circumstances, discuss potential risks and benefits, and provide personalized recommendations to optimize your heart health.

A TEER procedure may be a good option if you have severe mitral valve regurgitation, aren’t a good candidate for open-heart surgery, or have heart failure with mitral valve regurgitation due to heart enlargement.

Book Your Consultation Today: Don’t let mitral valve regurgitation compromise your well-being. Contact LECC at to schedule a consultation with our dedicated healthcare team. Together, we’ll explore treatment options and develop a plan tailored to your unique needs.

At LECC, we’re committed to delivering compassionate care and innovative solutions to support your heart health journey. Trust us to guide you every step of the way.

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