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.: Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Valvular heart problems involve primarily narrowing (stenosis) or leakage (insufficiency or regurgitation) of the aortic valve (primary outlet valve of the heart) or mitral valve (primary valve between the upper and lower chambers of the heart). All blood pumped by the heart passes through these valves. Problems can be caused by rheumatic fever or simply by degenerative changes occurring over many years of opening and closing every second of the day. Certain systemic illness and disease can contribute to the development of valve problems including auto immune disease such as arthritis, infections and kidney failure.

Mitral valve disease may be due to rheumatic disease but currently is caused most often by mitral valve prolapse syndrome, a poorly understood phenomena in which the valve slowly becomes thickened, elongated and begins to regurgitate blood back into the upper chamber of the heart causing heart failure. The mitral valve somewhat resembles a parachute in that long chords hold it in place. These chords may rupture and result in sudden worsening of the valve leakage.

Thanks to advances in modern surgical techniques, most cases of mitral valve prolapse can undergo repair of the valve thus preventing the need for placement of an artificial valve. Repair can be performed in 90-95% of cases of mitral leakage due to prolapse syndrome. This allows the patient to be treated postoperatively with simple blood thinners such as baby aspirin rather than the more powerful anticoagulant Coumadin required after most valve replacements and which has some potentially serious side effects.

Dr. Ott and his team have one of the world's largest experiences with mitral valve repair and replacement and can discuss the options carefully and honestly with the patient.


David A. Ott, M.D.
Post Office Box 20345
Houston, Texas 77225
Phone - (832) 355-4917
Fax - (832) 355-3770
Service - (832) 355-4900
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