Mitral Valve Disease

Need Mitral Valve Repair in Orange County?

Dedicated to the treatment of heart valve disease, Hoag’s Bill & Nancy Thompson Heart Valve Center is a hub for the advanced diagnosis, care and treatment for heart valve conditions.

From next-generation cardiac imaging techniques to pioneering one of the first robotic-assisted valve surgery programs on the West Coast, Hoag’s team of caring, renowned specialists and surgeons have the tools, techniques and experience to repair mitral valve issues that might have required replacement only a few years ago.

Need heart valve repair in Orange County? Then you deserve advanced techniques from the team that understands every step of your cardiac journey. That’s exactly what you’ll get at Hoag. Contact us today through our online form or by calling 949-764-8258.

What is Mitral Valve Disease?

Mitral valve disease is a type of valvular heart disease, meaning a condition that damages or impairs the healthy function of the heart valves.

Mitral valve disease encompasses a spectrum of conditions that can affect the ability of the mitral valve to function properly. One of the heart’s four valves, the mitral valve plays a pivotal role in maintaining the pumping action of the heart and forward blood flow, helping ensure that oxygen-rich blood returning from the lungs flows from the left atrium (the upper left chamber of the heart) and into the left ventricle (the lower left chamber) before being pumped to the rest of the body.

Problems with the heart’s mitral valve can be a congenital heart defect, meaning present from birth, or an acquired condition that develops over time due to factors experienced in life, including aging, disease or trauma to the heart.

If not promptly treated, mitral valve disease can sometimes lead to serious complications and symptoms including heart failure, cardiac arrest and death. But thanks to modern advancements in medications, diagnosis and care for heart valve issues, mitral valve disease can often be treated and managed effectively.

Explore screening, diagnosis and treatment options for mitral valve disease available at Hoag’s Bill & Nancy Thompson Heart Valve Center.

What are the Symptoms of Mitral Valve Disease?

The symptoms of mitral valve disease depend on several factors, including the patient’s overall health, the type of mitral valve issue being experienced and other issues.

Some patients may experience no symptoms at all, especially in milder cases. In other cases, symptoms may be worsened by related conditions such as atrial fibrillation or heart failure.

Including severe and common symptoms, mitral valve regurgitation or mitral valve stenosis may cause:

  • Chest pain that can range from mild to severe
  • Recurring or chronic cough
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue and decreased endurance while performing exercise
  • High blood pressure, particularly in the blood vessels that move blood to the lungs
  • Shortness of breath
  • Having a heart murmur, which is a whooshing sound from the heart
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias)
  • Migraine headaches
  • Orthostatic hypotension, which is a drop in blood pressure that happens when you stand, potentially leading to fainting
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles or feet.

Advanced, Robotic-Assisted Mitral Valve Surgery at Hoag

Hoag is a pioneer in robotic-assisted heart valve surgery, including robotic-assisted surgeries to correct mitral valve disease. During these procedures, surgeons use a robot to help them perform mitral valve repair or replacement through small incisions in the chest.

In addition to allowing surgeons to repair damaged or diseased valves that might once have required replacement, robotic-assisted mitral valve surgery can also result in less pain, faster recovery time, and a shorter hospital stay.

What are the Different Types of Mitral Valve Disease?

Mitral valve disease is classified into three primary forms:

Mitral Valve Stenosis

Mitral valve stenosis is a type of mitral valve disease characterized by thickening and stiffening of the valve flaps (also called the leaflets or cusps) that normally open and close the mitral valve. This can lead to a narrowed valve opening and restricted blood flow. Mitral valve stenosis is most often caused by rheumatic fever, a condition that can lead to rheumatic heart disease, in which the cusps that open and close to cover the heart valve opening are left scarred and stiff. In most cases, rheumatic fever is caused by strep throat.

Mitral Valve Prolapse

In cases involving mitral valve prolapse, the valve cusps become excessively stretchy, and the valve flaps bulge into the left atrium. This can potentially cause a leaky mitral valve (also known as mitral valve insufficiency) and regurgitation, a condition in which blood leaks backward through the mitral valve.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

In cases involving mitral valve regurgitation (also known as mitral insufficiency, mitral regurgitation or leaky valve), the mitral valve flaps fail to close tightly, resulting in a situation in which blood can leak backward into the left atrium, resulting in the backward flow of blood through the heart. In cases of severe mitral valve regurgitation, the heart may have to work harder than usual, which can result in an enlarged heart.

What Causes Mitral Valve Disease?

Several factors can cause mitral valve disease, including issues present from birth, infections, use of certain drugs and other factors. Causes of mitral valve disease include:

  • Congenital heart defects, meaning mitral valve disease that is present from birth
  • Connective tissue disorders, including Marfan syndrome
  • Auto-immune diseases, including lupus
  • Endocarditis, an infection of the lining of the heart that can also impact the heart valves
  • Enlargement of the left ventricle, often due to a heart attack or cardiomyopathy
  • Rheumatic heart disease, a condition caused by poorly-treated or untreated strep throat. This condition sometimes leads to scarring of the flaps of the mitral valve, which can cause mitral stenosis, particularly in older people
  • Radiation therapy to the chest during cancer treatment, which can lead to heart valve damage later in life.
  • Chest trauma from an accident or injury, though this is a very rare cause of mitral valve damage
  • Certain drugs or chemical agents, including ergot and the discontinued late-1990s weight loss drug Phen-Fen (fenfluramine/phentermine)

What are the Complications of Mitral Valve Disease?

Some people with mitral valve disease experience no symptoms or complications, especially in cases in which the mitral valve issue is mild.

However, in many cases, untreated mitral valve disease can lead to severe health issues. Complications of mitral valve disease may include:

  • Pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply the lungs
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Blood clots in the circulatory system
  • Stroke, which is caused by a blockage of the blood flow to the brain, usually due to blood clots
  • Atrial fibrillation, which is a potentially dangerous issue with the speed and rhythm of the heart
  • Enlargement of the heart, especially in cases involving severe mitral valve regurgitation

These complications can potentially worsen heart rhythm problems and significantly impair heart function.

What are the Risk Factors for Mitral Valve Disease?

Some people are born with what’s known as a congenital heart defect of the mitral valves. However, most cases are due to factors acquired later in life.

Known risk factors for mitral valve diseases include:

  • Old age
  • Having a family history of heart valve defects or other congenital heart defects
  • Your gender, as men are more likely than women to have mitral valve issues
  • Lifestyle factors that can put you at risk for coronary artery disease and other heart diseases, including a not getting enough exercise, being obese, smoking and eating a diet that’s high in fats and carbohydrates
  • Having rheumatic fever, a condition arising from strep throat which can cause scarring of the heart valves
  • A history of radiation to the chest during cancer treatment
  • Certain other conditions which can damage the heart valves, including diabetes, autoimmune disorders including lupus and untreated high blood pressure

Is There Any Way to Reduce My Risk of Developing Mitral Valve Disease?

Mitral valve conditions can be present at birth or may be due to inescapable factors like old age, so there is no definitive way to prevent yourself from developing mitral valve disease. However, there are certain steps you can take to lower your risk of developing the condition. These may include:

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet that is low in fat, salt and carbohydrates, with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Get plenty of physical exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking tobacco
  • Manage your stress levels
  • See a doctor immediately for any suspected cases of strep throat, which can lead to valve-damaging Rheumatic fever
  • Care for your skin and dental health, which can prevent infections that can lead to endocarditis, which is an infection of the lining of the heart that can spread to and damage the heart valves
  • Get regular health checkups, and take any medications for conditions like high blood pressure exactly as prescribed

Need a Mitral Valve Specialist? Orange County Chooses Hoag for Cardiac Care.

At Hoag’s Bill & Nancy Thompson Heart Valve Center, our multidisciplinary heart and vascular team is dedicated to providing our neighbors in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Yorba Linda and other communities across Orange County heart valve disease care that goes above and beyond, to extend lives and improve outcomes.

That system-wide commitment is a big part of why Hoag cardiovascular programs have been consistently rated as high-performing in several important categories by U.S. News and World Report. Simply put, if you need mitral valve repair surgery or mitral valve replacement in Southern California, there’s no place like Hoag. Contact us today through our online form or by calling 949-764-8258.

Concerned? Let Us Help Guide You.

Submit Your Question Online

Fill Out Our Form

Call Us