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Heart Valve Problems: Mitral Insufficiency

Mitral insufficiency means your mitral valve has problems closing. This lets blood leak back through the valve. A small amount of leaking blood rarely leads to problems. But severe cases can cause damage to the heart as the leaking of blood causes the blood to have to be pumped twice.

Top view of closed mitral valve with insufficiency.
Closed mitral valve with insufficiency (viewed from above).
Cross section of heart showing mitral valve insufficiency.

Possible causes of mitral insufficiency

Causes may include:

  • Heart damage from rheumatic fever or other disease

  • Aging

  • Mitral valve prolapse

  • Damage after a heart attack

Treating mitral insufficiency

Medicines may be prescribed. These help the heart work better. In severe cases, heart valve surgery may be needed to repair or replace the valve.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Gandelman, Glenn, MD, MPH
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2016
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