Mitral Valve Regurgitation And MitraClip

Mitral valve regurgitation is a heart valve disease, in which the mitral valve fails to close properly, leading to backflow of blood.

The mitral valve is one of the four heart valves located between the left atrium and the left ventricle. The major function of the mitral valve is to prevent re-entering of blood to the left atrium.

Our blood normally flows from the left atrium to the left ventricle, but if you have mitral valve disease, the blood may flow back to the atrium or the lungs. Mitral valve regurgitation is also known as leakage of the mitral valve.

What Is Mitral Valve Regurgitation, And Is It Treatable?

Mitral valve regurgitation is the dysfunction of the mitral valve, a heart valve responsible for preventing backflow of blood by acting as a flap or leaflet.

The leakiness of the mitral valve burdens the cardiovascular system, ultimately causing it to work harder and weakening the heart.

Mitral valve regurgitation is treatable, and various procedures are available to control mitral valve leakiness. A minimally-invasive procedure for treating mitral valve regurgitation is MitraClip therapy.

Symptoms Of Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Mitral valve regurgitation may cause one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue

Diagnosis Of Mitral Valve Regurgitation

There are two protocols or steps for the diagnosis of mitral valve regurgitation:

1) Physical examination
2) Various tests to check heart activity.

Physical Examination

At first, the doctor may check the patient’s symptoms and conduct a comprehensive physical exam. For example, the cardiologist may ask the patients about their disease history and symptoms of their present condition for evaluation and listen to the heart with a stethoscope.


Tests that diagnose mitral valve regurgitation include:

● ECG (Electrocardiogram)
One of the most commonly used tests to diagnose mitral regurgitation is ECG. It uses wires (electrodes) to monitor the heart's electrical activity. ECG detects irregular heart rhythms, which are characteristic features of mitral valve disease.

● Cardiac MRI
A cardiac MRI is an imaging test of the heart that uses radio waves to produce a detailed picture of the structure of the heart, helping cardiologists to confirm the diagnosis of mitral valve disease.

● Chest X-ray
A chest X-ray is another imaging test that shows the internal picture of the heart and lungs. It can help detect fluids in the lungs or show an enlarged heart.

Treatment Of Mitral Valve Regurgitation

In the case of mild mitral valve regurgitation disease, the treatment options may include:
● Lifestyle changes
● Medications to prevent complications and treat symptoms.
● Regular monitoring of the patient's condition by a healthcare professional.

For severe mitral valve regurgitation, surgical treatment may be recommended, like:

● Mitral valve replacement or mitral valve repair.
● MitraClip implantation therapy

Mitral Valve Replacement Vs. MitraClip Implantation

Both mitral valve replacement or repair and MitraClip implantation are internal procedures used to treat severe mitral regurgitation that is irresponsive to medications or lifestyle changes.

Mitral valve replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces a diseased mitral valve with an artificial valve. On the other hand, MitraClip is a catheter-based and minimally-invasive implantation procedure that clips the damaged mitral valve, preventing the backflow of the blood.

Indications And Benefits Of MitraClip

MitraClip is indicated for patients at a high risk of undergoing open-heart surgery. MitraClip is also an alternative for elderly patients suffering from comorbid conditions, such as heart, lung, liver, or kidney disease.

The benefits of MitraClip implantation include:
● It requires a shorter hospital stay, which is typically one day.
● It is a minimally-invasive procedure.
● It quickly improves the symptoms of mitral regurgitation disease and quality of life after the procedure.
● It increases the survival rate in patients with reduced heart function.

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