The mitral valve disease is a disease caused by malfunction of the heart’s mitral valve, whose purpose is to regulate blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle.
The heart is the primary muscular organ of the circulatory system that pumps blood throughout the body. This is possible thanks to its structure, which comprises four valves that open to allow blood to circulate through them and then close to prevent it from returning in the opposite direction. Sometimes these barriers do not work correctly, and valve disease occurs, which can have different effects such as regurgitation or regurgitation, mitral valve prolapse, or problems with blood flowing properly.
At FastlyHealwe, explain what the causes, symptoms, and treatment of mitral valve disease are so that you can get to know this condition in depth.
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Causes and diagnosis of mitral valve disease
Valve problems, specifically mitral valve disease, can appear at birth or result from infections, heart attacks, or heart injuries. The most characteristic symptom of this disease is an unusual sound when the heart beats; this is called a murmur and can be heard with a stethoscope.
There are specific heart tests that can detect if your valves are abnormal. In the case of presenting it, it is not always necessary to follow the medical treatment since there are different degrees of valve problems; some do not require medication. However, others may require drugs, valve repair, or replacement surgery.
Regurgitation or mitral regurgitation
Mitral regurgitation consists of a setback in the typical path of the blood. Also called mitral regurgitation, it occurs when the mitral valve allows blood to flow back into the left atrium.
This mitral regurgitation can take several years to manifest, but if it continues for a long time, it can cause increased pressure in the lungs or an enlarged heart. This condition is typically caused by problems that weaken or damage the valve; the following are the most common causes of mitral regurgitation in adults:
- Valvular damage after suffering from rheumatic fever in childhood, an infectious disease caused by streptococcus bacteria.
- Damage to the valve after a heart attack.
- Injury due to infective endocarditis occurs in the heart’s inner tunica.
Symptoms appear slowly, the most frequent being:
- Irregular heartbeat, palpitations.
- Short of breath.
- Fast breathing.
- Chest pain.
Mitral valve prolapse
The mitral valve prolapse occurs when one or both valve leaflets are enlarged so that instead of correctly closing, one or both valves sink or bulge into the left atrium.
It is one of the most common valve diseases and is often hereditary. Most people with this heart condition are thin or have mild chest wall deformities, scoliosis, or other skeletal malformations.
Although symptoms frequently do not appear, sometimes one suffers:
- Shortness of breath, especially when lying down
- Chest pain.
- Tiredness and shortness of breath after exercise.
- Heart palpitations and tachycardias, the heartbeat being faster.
Mitral stenosis is a narrowing or obstruction of the mitral valve. The narrowing of the valve causes blood to accumulate in the left atrium and not pass to the left ventricle, as would typically occur.
The cause of mitral stenosis is generally rheumatic fever. However, it can also be related to the aging process or the accumulation of calcium in the ring that surrounds the valve. Most people with mitral stenosis do not have symptoms, if any; they include:
- Difficulty breathing after exercise.
- Cough accompanied by bloody sputum.
- Edema of the feet and ankles, swelling.
- Respiratory infections, bronchitis.
- Hoarse or harsh voice.
Mitral stenosis can, over time, lead to heart failure, stroke, or blood clots in various parts of the body. Therefore, if you suspect that you have valvular disease, go to the doctor to do the relevant tests and give you a diagnosis to treat your pathology correctly.
Treatment of valvular heart disease
Treatment for valve disease depends on how the valve works, there are different levels of severity, and if the injury is mild, it may not need treatment. However, if the valve disease is mild, do not neglect regular check-ups to control the symptoms and make sure that the deterioration of your mitral valve has not worsened.
On certain occasions, the following treatments may be required:
Always under medical prescription, they can prescribe a drug to alleviate your symptoms and stop the worsening of the disease. The indicated medication will be the most effective for your individual needs. These might be:
- Diuretics, such as furosemide or spironolactone can help reduce inflammation and eliminate excess fluid through urine.
- Digoxin stabilizes the heart rate and helps the heart pump harder.
- Warfarin is a blood thinner that helps reduce the risk of blood clots.
A defective heart valve can be repaired or replaced with a new artificial valve. Both procedures are performed under general anesthesia, meaning that the patient will remain asleep during the operation.
When it comes to repairing the valve, the process used is usually balloon valve surgery, recommended in children or young people with mitral stenosis or in adults who cannot undergo another type of surgery. It consists of introducing a catheter to the heart through an artery; in this tiny tube, there is a guidewire with a deflated balloon at the tip. Upon reaching the narrow valve, the balloon is inflated by stretching it slightly so that blood can pass more efficiently through the already widened valve.
Remember that in the event of any symptoms of valvular disease, you should immediately go to the doctor to have the relevant tests performed to have a diagnosis and be treated, if necessary, as soon as possible.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.