Mitral regurgitation (MR) is a common heart valve disorder in which the mitral valve does not close tightly, causing blood to leak backward into the left atrium. To ensure the right amount of blood is flowing throughout the body, the heart compensates by increasing the size of the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart. As a result, your heart works harder and may raise the risk of irregular heartbeats, stroke and heart failure, which can be deadly.   

The good news is that Marshall Health offers advanced treatment options for patients suffering from mitral regurgitation and its effects. 

Types of MR

There are two types of mitral regurgitation:

  • Primary MR (degenerative) is caused by an anatomic defect of one or more of the structures of the mitral valve of the heart.
  • Secondary MR (functional) occurs in patients with coronary disease, wherein the damage from the disease impairs the performance of a normal mitral valve.


The amount of blood being pushed back into the left atrium determines how severe your mitral regurgitation is. MR severity is typically classified as mild (grade 1+), moderate (grade 2+), moderate-to-severe (grade 3+) or severe (grade 4+).

Signs and symptoms of mitral regurgitation depend on its severity and how quickly the condition develops. MR symptoms may include:

  • Cough, especially at night or when lying down
  • Excessive urination
  • Fatigue
  • Heart murmur
  • Heart palpitations or sensations of a rapid, fluttering heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen feet or ankles

Treatment Options

A team of cardiologists will determine the best mitral regurgitation treatment based on your severity of MR and overall health.

  • Medications: These help reduce symptoms, such as fluid buildup in the lungs, and improve the heart’s function; however, they don't address the underlying problem with the mitral valve.
  • Surgical or minimally invasive methods: Mitral valve surgery or transcatheter mitral valve repair can be used to treat both types of MR. Surgical mitral valve repair and mitral valve replacement are available options to treat primary (degenerative) mitral regurgitation.  
  • Non-surgical, minimally invasive method: MitraClip therapy treats mitral regurgitation by repairing leaky mitral valves without open-heart surgery and is delivered to the heart through a small incision in the leg.

Marshall Cardiology - Huntington

A provider-based department of Cabell Huntington Hospital
Erma Ora Byrd Clinical Center
1249 15th Street
Fourth Floor
Huntington, WV 25701
Phone: 304.691.8500

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Marshall Cardiology - Teays Valley

An outpatient department of Cabell Huntington Hospital
Marshall Health - Teays Valley
300 Corporate Center Drive
2nd Floor
Scott Depot, WV 25560
Phone: 304.733.7865

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