What causes mitral regurgitation?

Dr. Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Practitioner

There are different causes for mitral valve regurgitation. A common cause of mitral valve regurgitation is a previous heart attack. Untreated high blood pressure and endocarditis can result in mitral regurgitation. Another cause is rheumatic fever, a childhood illness that may occur if a strep throat infection or scarlet fever is left untreated by antibiotics. In the US today, rheumatic fever is rare because we have antibiotics to treat strep throat infections. Still, rheumatic fever can damage the mitral valve and then lead to mitral valve regurgitation later on in life. Talk to your doctor about your situation with mitral valve regurgitation. Usually there is no treatment necessary for mild mitral valve regurgitation. However, people with more serious mitral valve regurgitation may have to take medications called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Sometimes surgical procedures are recommended to replace the heart valve. If the mitral valve regurgitation is severe, the result may be heart failure.

Mitral valve regurgitation is sometimes caused by mitral valve prolapse, a relatively common and benign condition in which the patient has too large a valve leaflet that makes a snapping sound when the valve closes.

Mitral regurgitation is a consequence of degenerative heart disease, as well as a function of a consequence of people who have had heart attacks or heart failure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.