What is the mitral valve?
The mitral valve is located between the two left heart chambers (i.e. the left ventricle and the left atrium). The purpose of the mitral valve is to control the flow of blood between the two chambers and to prevent blood from leaking backwards. Mitral valve disease describes conditions in which the mitral valve is no longer functioning correctly.
Types of mitral valve disease include:
- Mitral valve stenosis – the flaps of the mitral valve become stiff and hardened, narrowing the opening and reducing the flow of blood between the left heart chambers.
- Mitral valve regurgitation – when the flaps of the mitral valve don't close tightly enough, resulting in blood to leak back into the left atrium.
What are the symptoms of mitral valve disease?
Symptoms of mitral valve disease may include:
- Swelling of your ankles or feet
- An irregular heartbeat
- Heart murmur
How is mitral valve disease treated?
Treatments for mitral valve disease include closely monitoring the valve and making lifestyle changes. Sometimes surgery may be needed to replace or repair the valve. Mitral valve surgery may be performed as open surgery, or minimally invasively.