Surgery gives normal life expectancy to patients with severe mitral regurgitation; death risk for medically treated patients is five times greater
"We know from previous studies that patients with symptomatic mitral regurgitation are at increased risk of death, but for those without symptoms the picture has been murkier," says Maurice Enriquez-Sarano, M.D., the Mayo Clinic cardiologist who led the study. "In this study we followed a large population of asymptomatic patients prospectively to identify keys to improved long-term outcomes, and to determine when patients should consider surgery."
The mitral valve separates the left upper chamber of the heart (atrium) from the left lower chamber (ventricle). In mitral regurgitation this valve does not close properly, which causes some blood to backwash into the heart from the left ventricle instead of being pumped out to the rest of the body. The left atrium typically enlarges due to this pressure, and as a result of this compensation the patient may not experience symptoms initially. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include fatigue, exhaustion, light-headedness, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
Lee Aase | EurekAlert!
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