Mitral Valve Conditions Overview
There are many different kinds of mitral valve conditions. However, the function of the mitral valve is really quite simple: it allows blood flow to pass from the left atrium (coming from the lungs) into the left ventricle and when the ventricle contracts (squeezes), it closes to keep the blood from going backwards.
In essence, the valve has two jobs: to open and to close! When the valve fails to open or close properly many problems can arise for patients.
Given that, there are two primary problems that can occur with the mitral valve: mitral regurgitation (blood leaks backwards, often due to mitral valve prolapse) and mitral stenosis (narrowed mitral valve restricting blood flow from passing easily).
There are many different causes of mitral valve disease: mitral valve prolapse, rheumatic disease, endocarditis (infection of the valve), dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart), ischemic mitral valve regurgitation (blood flow problems due to heart attacks or coronary artery disease), and many others.
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