Mitral valve regurgitation involves the backward leakage of blood via the mitral valve every time the left ventricle contracts.
The leakage of the mitral valve allows the blood to flow into 2 directions as it contracts. Some of the blood flows from the ventricle via the aortic valve normally and some blood moves back into the atrium.
The leakage increases the blood volume and pressure in the area. The increased blood pressure in the left atrium can heighten the pressure in the veins leading from the lungs to the heart. If the regurgitation is severe enough, the elevated pressure might result to congestion or buildup of fluid in the lungs.
A minor case of mitral valve regurgitation will not cause any symptoms. If the regurgitation is severe, the individual might experience palpitations especially when the individual rests on the left side.
In some severe cases, the heart might become enlarged to maintain the forward flow of blood, resulting to heart failure. This triggers symptoms that range from coughing, shortness of breath during exertion, swollen feet and legs as well as congestion around the lungs and heart.
What are the associated conditions?
The left atrium tends to enlarge due to the surplus blood volume that leaks back from the ventricle. The enlarged atrium might develop a rapid and erratic movement which is called as atrial fibrillation which reduces the ability of the heart to pump efficiently.
If the atrium is in a fibrillating state, it is quivering which will not allow blood to flow normally. This increases the risk for the formation of blood clots that can trigger a stroke. Pulmonary hypertension is another possible complication.
The treatment for a mild case of mitral valve regurgitation might include anticoagulation medications. Nevertheless, surgery might be done to fix or replace the valve.