Chronic Mitral Regurgitation: An overview of Etiology, Diagnosis and Treatment

Nariman Malik, BSc

Mitral regurgitation is a common valvular heart disease, especially in the elderly.1 It is defined as a condition in which there is an abnormal flow of blood from the left ventricle to the left atrium across an incompetent mitral valve during ventricular systole.2 The mitral valve consists of four main components: the annulus, anterior and posterior leaflets, the chordae tendinae and the papillary muscles. Mitral regurgitation has a number of underlying etiologies that can be broadly classed into two groups: mitral regurgitation due to organic disease (e.g. rheumatic disease or infective endocarditis) or mitral regurgitation due to functional causes (regurgitation results from myocardial dysfunction as opposed to valvular problems). In developed countries, the etiologic profile of mitral regurgitation has changed over recent years due to the decreased incidence of rheumatic heart disease.3 Mitral regurgitation is most frequently due to degenerative and ischemic causes in the western world.4 See table 1



Mitral regurgitation is often classified by its underlying etiology.