The mitral valve is an essential part of your heart. Matter of fact, you wouldnt exist without it. The valve is essentially a small, round hole with two flaps on the top and bottom. Its job is to open and close rapidly, regulating the flow of blood between the upper and lower chambers of the hearts left side- the main pumping chambers that send oxygen-rich red blood to your limbs and organs.
In some people, however, the mitral valve can leak, usually because of a congenital deformity or after a serious heart attack when the heart muscle itself is damaged. "Significant leakage of the mitral valve can shorten someones life, not to mention making it tough to go about the activities of daily living," said Dr Scott Lim, a cardiologist at the University of Virginia Health System.
For years, the standard of care for mitral valve leakage has been open-heart surgery with the patient on a bypass machine. Now, heart patients at the UVa Health System have a new, less invasive, option to get a leaky valve fixed.
Bob Beard | EurekAlert!
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