Mitral valve disease can be a serious condition. In short, mitral valve disease is when the mitral valve (the valve located between the left atrium and left ventricle heart chambers) no longer works properly.
The mitral valve’s job is to keep blood flowing properly from the left atrium to the left ventricle. This valve is one of four of the heart’s valves, and it is the one most often correlated with disease. The valve keeps the blood flowing in one direction.
When the mitral valve isn’t functioning properly, the heart is not pumping enough blood out of the left ventricular chamber to give the body blood filled with oxygen.
Dr. Peter Mikhail is a cardiac and thoracic surgeon who treats people with mitral valve disease in the New Port Richey, Tampa, and Clearwater areas.
There are a few types of mitral valve disease:
Mitral valve regurgitation/insufficiency (leakage)
Mitral valve regurgitation, which is often also called mitral valve insufficiency, is when the flaps of the valve are not closing properly or tightly, which in turn lets blood leak back into the left atrium of the heart. This condition doesn’t always show itself right away. If left untreated, a buildup or pressure can occur in the lungs, the heart could enlarge, or heart muscle damage could occur.
Mitral valve stenosis (obstruction)
Mitral valve stenosis is when the mitral valve’s opening has become narrow. The valve’s flaps have become thick or stiff, and they may fuse together, which creates a narrowing or blockage of the valve. Blood will begin to back up in the left atrium of the heart instead of flowing to the left ventricle. The narrowing or blockage keeps the proper amount of blood from flowing through.
Mitral valve prolapse (bulging)
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is when one or both of the mitral valve’s flaps are enlarged or bulging. Because of their larger size, the flaps cannot close evenly, so they end up collapsing into the left atrium of the heart.