Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Symptoms of Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Mitral valve regurgitation symptoms depend on how severely and quickly the condition develops. Most often, the condition is mild and develops slowly. Since symptoms may not appear for many years, some people are completely unaware that they have it.
If symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation do occur, they can include:
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, especially when exercising or lying down
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Heart failure
  • Coughing up blood
  • Swelling in the ankles and feet
  • Increased urination.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose mitral valve regurgitation based on the person's symptoms, a physical exam, and certain tests and procedures. The tests to make a diagnosis can include:

Treatment for Mitral Valve Regurgitation

The treatment the doctor recommends will depend on:
  • The severity of the mitral valve regurgitation
  • How quickly it has progressed
  • The person's general health.
People with mild mitral valve regurgitation may not require any immediate treatment. The doctor may recommend regular checkups and certain tests (electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, and stress tests) to monitor any progression of the condition. However, preventive antibiotics should be used for any surgeries, including dental procedures.
For more severe cases, medical treatment may be recommended. This does not cure the condition, but it can help relieve symptoms. Medical treatment can involve:
  • Medications
  • Activity limitations
  • Lifestyle changes, such as limiting the amount of salt in your diet.
Surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve may be recommended for a person who is severely limited by symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation, despite being on medication. Surgery may also be recommended in cases where the disease is progressing rapidly.
Surgery to repair the mitral valve usually eliminates the regurgitation or reduces it enough to make the symptoms tolerable and prevent damage to the heart. Surgery to replace the mitral valve (called mitral valve replacement surgery) eliminates the regurgitation entirely.
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