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An option for those with mitral valve regurgitation

Last Modified: 2/25/2020

Mitral Valve

The mitral valve helps to control the flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle. The mitral valve is made up of two leaflets that open and close to allow blood to flow.  When these leaflets are not closing completely, a patient has mitral valve regurgitation (MR).  Because the valve leaflets cannot close all the way, blood backs up (regurgitates) into the upper area of the heart, causing the heart to work harder to pump the extra blood.

Mild regurgitation often doesn’t cause problems. The symptoms can include a heart murmur, shortness of breath and fatigue.  In fact, a lot of people have it for many years without experiencing any complications. But, if the valve leaflets further weaken and the regurgitation becomes severe, it can weaken the heart and lead to heart failure.

Causes

The causes of MR include a heart attack, heart infection (endocarditis), mitral valve prolapse, cardiomyopathy, calcium buildup in the heart, the weight-loss medicine Fen-Phen and diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, the individual is born with the valve problem.

Your doctor will watch your health closely if you have mild mitral valve regurgitation. This would include routine examinations and having an ECHO (echocardiogram) performed. You may take medicine for other health problems that are caused by mitral regurgitation. If the disease progresses into a more severe form, the valve may need to be repaired or replaced.

New surgical intervention

To assist those with more severe cases of MR, the Parkview Heart Institute now offers mitral valve clipping in addition to other surgical options to repair or replace the valve. Mitral valve clipping is a minimally invasive procedure in which a narrow catheter is fed up to the heart through an artery in the groin. The catheter is guided through the septum, which divides the top two chambers of the heart. This procedure uses clips that are attached to the leaflets within the mitral valve.  The leaflets are clipped together, resulting in improved proper blood flow and reduced symptoms.

 

To learn more about mitral valve clipping, talk to your cardiologist or contact the Parkview Valve Clinic.

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