Mitral regurgitation – acute

Alternative Names

Mitral insufficiency; Acute mitral regurgitation

Definition of Mitral regurgitation – acute

Acute mitral regurgitation is a disorder in which the heart’s mitral valve suddenly does not close properly, causing blood to flow backward (leak) into the upper heart chamber when the left lower heart chamber contracts.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Regurgitation means leaking from a valve that doesn’t close all the way. Diseases that weaken or damage the valve or its supporting structures cause mitral regurgitation.

Signs and tests

The doctor may detect a thrill (vibration) over the heart when feeling (palpating) the chest area. An extra heart sound (S4 gallop) and a distinctive heart murmur may be heard when listening to the chest with a stethoscope. However, some patients may not have this murmur. If fluid backs up into the lungs, there may be crackles heard in the lungs.

Treatment

Patients with severe symptoms may need to be admitted to a hospital for diagnosis and treatment.

Expectations (prognosis)

How well a patient does depends on the cause and severity of the valve leakage. Milder forms may become a chronic condition.

Review

Issam Mikati, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/4/2010

Heart, section through the middle

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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