If you have difficulty with shortness of breath, problems climbing stairs and a rapid heartbeat, you could be suffering from mitral insufficiency. Or a disorder of the mitral valve, one of the heart valves. We also call this a “leaking mitral heart valve”.
Mitral valve insufficiency, mitral insufficiency or MI is a disorder of one of the heart valves, the mitral valve. The heart valves regulate the flow of blood through the four chambers of the heart. Each valve consists of a delicate, but stable tissue structure. When blood flows through the four heart chambers, the valves open and close and thus ensure that the blood flows in the correct direction.
The mitral valve is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle and works as a seal: it ensures that the blood flows forward through the heart with a normal heartbeat. If the mitral valve does not close completely, blood flows back in the opposite direction, or back into the atrium. We call this backflow mitral insufficiency.
A leaking mitral heart valve can have various causes, including:
The New York Heart Association (NYHA) classifies the degree of severity of a leaking mitral valve on the basis of physical capacity.