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Mitral Valve Regurgitation (cont.)

What Increases Your Risk

Risk factors for mitral valve regurgitation (MR) include:

  • Age. Wear and tear of the mitral valve occurs over time. This increases the likelihood of blood leaking back into the atrium.
  • Having mitral valve prolapse.
  • Having had rheumatic fever, because it can cause scarring on the valve. This can result in incomplete closure.
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD may cause ischemia (reduced blood flow) or infarction (heart attack), which affects the valve's structure. This can lead to incomplete closure.
  • Less commonly, diabetes and Marfan's syndrome, because they may lead to hardening of the valve.

When to Call a Doctor

Call or other emergency services immediately if you or a person you are with has:

  • Symptoms of a heart attack, including chest pain or pressure.
  • Symptoms of stroke.
  • Loss of consciousness (syncope).
  • Symptoms of acute mitral valve regurgitation including severe shortness of breath, fast heart rate, lightheadedness, weakness, confusion, and chest pain.

Call a doctor immediately if you have:

  • Symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in the legs and feet.
  • Mitral valve regurgitation (MR) and are having symptoms of infection such as fever with no other obvious cause. Be alert for signs of infection if you have recently have had any dental, diagnostic, or surgical procedure.
  • Irregular heartbeats.
  • Fainting episodes.
  • Palpitations.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • A decreased ability to exercise at your usual level.
  • Excessive fatigue (without other explanation).

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. If you do not have symptoms of MR, your doctor will still want to see you every 6 to 12 months or as soon as you have symptoms for the first time. If your doctor has talked with you about what to do if you have symptoms, follow your doctor's instructions. Contact your doctor if your symptoms get worse.

Who to see

Health professionals who can evaluate symptoms that may be related to mitral valve regurgitation include:

They frequently can also order the tests needed for further evaluation of symptoms.

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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