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Management of chronic primary mitral regurgitation

William H Gaasch, MD
Section Editor
Catherine M Otto, MD
Deputy Editor
Susan B Yeon, MD, JD, FACC


Management of patients with chronic primary mitral regurgitation (MR) requires an understanding of the pathophysiology and natural history of the disease (table 1) and the efficacy and timing of treatment, particularly mitral valve repair and replacement. While our knowledge of these areas is incomplete, a rational plan for management based upon the available evidence is presented here [1,2].

Primary MR is caused by a primary abnormality of one or more components of the valve apparatus (leaflets, chordae tendineae, papillary muscles, annulus) in contrast to secondary MR, which is caused by another cardiac disease (such as coronary heart disease or a cardiomyopathy) (table 2). Identification of the cause and type (primary or secondary) of MR is required for appropriate management of MR as well as any associated conditions.

The pathophysiology, natural history, diagnosis, and evaluation of chronic mitral regurgitation, and the management of chronic secondary MR are presented elsewhere. (See "Pathophysiology of chronic mitral regurgitation" and "Natural history of chronic mitral regurgitation caused by mitral valve prolapse and flail mitral leaflet" and "Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of chronic mitral regurgitation" and "Management and prognosis of chronic secondary mitral regurgitation".)


Staging of primary mitral regurgitation (MR) is based upon symptoms, valve anatomy, valve hemodynamics (severity of MR), and hemodynamic consequences of MR as reflected by left atrial size, left ventricular size and function, and pulmonary artery pressure (table 3) [1]:

In stage A, patients are at risk of MR (or have mild MR). There are mild mitral valve abnormalities (mild mitral valve prolapse or mild valve thickening and leaflet restriction) with no or mild MR (small central jet <20 percent of left atrium on color Doppler with vena contracta <0.3 cm). The left atrial and left ventricular sizes are normal and there are no symptoms.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jan 15, 2016.
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