Mitral Valve Disease

The mitral valve controls blood flow through the left side of your heart. When it opens, the mitral valve allows blood to flow into the left ventricle, which is the heart’s main pumping chamber. When the left ventricle contracts, the mitral valve closes, preventing blood from flowing back toward the lungs.

In some cases, the mitral valve is abnormal from birth. It can also become damaged by infection, with age or from heart disease. Mitral valve disease can be either regurgitation (MR) or stenosis (MS).

  • Mitral Regurgitation (MR) is a condition where the valve doesn’t close properly, which can allow blood to flow backwards in the heart. This is the most common valve condition, and it affects about 4 million adults in the United States.
  • Mitral Stenosis (MS) is a condition in which the opening of the mitral valve is narrowed, resulting in restricted blood flow to the left ventricle.



Mitral Valve Disease Treatment Options

Medication may be used very early in the disease process to treat mitral valve disease.
Open heart surgery is any type of surgery where the chest is cut open and surgery is performed on the muscles, valves, or arteries of the heart.
Minimally invasive surgery options for mitral valve treatment allow the surgeon to access the valve through a much smaller incision, without cutting the breastbone. Minimally invasive surgical patients can typically return to driving in one week and return to normal activities after one month.

Robotic mitral valve surgery is the most minimally invasive surgical option for patients needing mitral valve repair. The mitral valve is accessed through a small 2 cm incision between the ribs and four 1 cm instrument ports. The robotic camera provides superior visualization of the mitral valve, leading to more precise and successful repairs. Robotic mitral valve surgery patients typically have no driving restrictions and are able to return to normal activities within a week or two.Compared to traditional or open-heart surgery, robotically assisted minimally invasive surgery offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Shorter hospital stays and less time in ICU
  • Significantly less pain and scarring
  • Less risk of wound infections
  • Less blood loss and fewer transfusions
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to normal activities and lifestyles




Transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) is a minimally invasive procedure that may be an option for patients who are too sick for surgery (also referred to as being at “prohibitive risk” for surgery). Unlike surgery, this procedure does not require opening the chest and temporarily stopping the heart. During this procedure, a clip will be implanted onto the center of your mitral valve. This reduces mitral regurgitation, and the valve continues to open and close on either side of the clip, allowing blood to flow through. Although this does not provide as complete a repair as surgery, the reduction in leakage is usually adequate to improve or resolve symptoms in this group of patients who previously had no acceptable treatment options.

Valvuloplasty is for patients with mitral stenosis, where the mitral valve has become narrowed and restricts blood flow. During this procedure a balloon-tipped catheter is guided through a vessel in the groin to the mitral valve. The balloon is then inflated to open the stenotic valve and allow blood to flow.

signs and symptoms of mitral valve disease

A heart murmur is an unusual heartbeat sound identified by a physician when he or she listens to your heart with a stethoscope. It is a main sign of valve disease. However, just because a patient may have a heart murmur does not mean that he or she has heart valve disease. If you have a heart murmur, we encourage you to contact the Advanced Cardiac Valve Center for an assessment. Often, patients with mitral valve disease experience no symptoms; however, when symptoms occur, they often arise gradually over time. These signs and symptoms can include:

  • Heart murmur
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exertion or when lying down
  • Fatigue, especially during times of increased activity
  • Cough, especially at night or when lying down
  • Heart palpitations – sensations of a rapid, fluttering heartbeat
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • Lightheadedness or feeling faint

If heart valve disease is not diagnosed and treated properly, the heart muscle will get weaker, increasing the risk of heart failure, decline in quality of life and death.