Features April 2010 Issue

Study Supports Early Mitral Valve Repair Even if Asymptomatic

Research indicates that damage to the heart can begin well before symptoms appear.

Mitral valve regurgitation is the most common type of heart valve problem, affecting an estimated 20 percent of adults 55 and older, according to the National Institutes of Health. The condition, in which the mitral valve leaflets donít close properly and blood is allowed to leak back into the heart, can be a precursor to serious heart problems, such as heart failure and an enlarged left ventricle (caused by the heart having to work harder to pump enough blood out), as well as tricuspid regurgitation, pulmonary hypertension, and atrial fibrillation, when the top and bottom chambers of the heart do not beat in a synchronized manner.

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