The heart’s mitral valve is made of a pair of tissue flaps that swing open and closed. The valve opens to allow blood to flow from the left atrium (the small, upper-left chamber of the heart) into the left ventricle (the large, lower-left chamber of the heart).
The mitral valve should allow blood to flow into the ventricle but not to move backwards from the ventricle into the atrium. However, if the valve becomes stiff or misshapen, it can malfunction, greatly reducing the heart’s pumping efficiency. When this happens your heart can become enlarged or you can develop elevated pressure in the lungs.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mitral valve disease or are showing symptoms, it’s important that you receive care, as they could be the signs of something serious. The experienced cardiologists at St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute can get you the answers you need to stay healthy and treat mitral valve disease in Stockton or the surrounding areas. Find a Doctor today to learn more.
At our state-of-the-art facilities, we care for the three main types of mitral valve disease, including:
- Mitral valve stenosis where the valve becomes stiff and/or narrow. This condition almost always occurs due to valve injury from rheumatic fever. This illness results from untreated strep infections, often in childhood.
- Mitral valve regurgitation is when blood leaks backwards through the valve into the left atrium. This can be caused by mitral valve prolapse, damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack, or for unknown reasons.
- Mitral valve prolapse is a condition where the valve’s tissue flaps don’t close properly.
Mitral Valve Disease Causes & Symptoms
For many people, a valve malfunction is only detected when their doctor hears a distinctive murmur or click when listening to the heart with a stethoscope.
In some cases, the symptoms of mitral valve disease can include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Because these symptoms also could indicate a serious, life-threatening emergency, you should never wait to see if the symptoms go away on their own. If you ever experience chest pain with shortness of breath, you should call 911.
Treating Mitral Valve Disease with Dignity Health
Mitral valve disease treatment focuses on slowing the progression of any valve damage and restoring the mitral valve to full function. Your treatment options may depend on how advanced the condition is, your overall health, the type of mitral valve disease you have, how severe your symptoms are, and other factors.
Your doctor may not recommend any particular treatment for mild forms of mitral valve disease. If the disease becomes more advanced, your treatment options may include surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve or medications. Your doctor and care team will let you know what to expect before you undergo surgery. Your overall well-being and heart health is our priority.
St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute is among select providers in the nation to offer patients Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement (TMVR). This minimally invasive procedure treats moderate/severe to severe mitral regurgitation without requiring open heart surgery.