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Mitral Valve Regurgitation - Cause

There are two forms of mitral valve regurgitation (MR): chronic and acute. Chronic mitral valve regurgitation develops slowly over several years. Acute MR develops suddenly.

Chronic mitral valve regurgitation

Chronic mitral valve regurgitation is caused by diseases or conditions that damage the mitral valve over time. The valve then allows blood to leak backward (regurgitate).

The mitral valve may become hard, or calcified, around the tough ring of tissue (annulus) to which the mitral valve flaps are attached. Normally the mitral annulus is soft and flexible. But as a person ages, calcium may build up inside the annulus. This hardened mitral valve cannot close completely, and blood leaks backward (regurgitates) into the upper left chamber of the heart camera.gif (atrium).

Examples of diseases or conditions that can cause mitral valve regurgitation include:

Acute mitral valve regurgitation

Acute mitral valve regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve or one of its supporting structures ruptures suddenly, creating an immediate overload of blood volume and pressure in the left side of the heart. Your heart doesn't have time to adjust to the increased volume and pressure of blood (as it does in chronic MR).

Causes of sudden rupture include:

  • Injury to the chordae tendineae. Endocarditis may also cause the chordae tendineae to rupture.
  • Injury to the chest.
  • Heart attack, which may cause the rupture of the muscle (papillary) surrounding the valve.
  • Problems with a prosthetic mitral valve.
  • Perforation of the mitral valve flap (leaflet), caused by endocarditis.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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