Heart Failure

Mitral Valve Prolapse = Mitral Insufficiency? About Heart Valve and Frequently Asked Questions

Speaking of heart valve problems, is the first thing that pops into your mind “mitral valve prolapse” or “valvular insufficiency”? However, what do these terms mean? Let this article answer it for you!

Mitral valve prolapse definition

Mitral valve prolapse refers to a condition in which the valve leaflets are too long and loose. The valve prolapse that most people often hear usually refers to mitral valve prolapse. When the patient’s heart contracts, the mitral valve will close, but its leaflets will bulge toward the left atrium.

The incidence of mitral valve prolapse is not low. About 5% of the population has this problem. The incidence rate in women is 2 times higher than that in men. Most of it is caused by genetics, such as: Marfan syndrome, Epstein syndrome Ebstein’s Anomaly, etc., and others are caused by acquired heart disease.

Heart valve prolapse often leads to mitral valve insufficiency, but mitral valve insufficiency is not always caused by valve prolapse. Of course, the most common form of mitral valve insufficiency is mitral valve prolapse, with a prevalence rate as high as 50% in the United States. Among them, myxomatous degeneration of the mitral valve is the main cause. In addition, ischemic heart disease and rheumatic heart disease often lead to mitral valve insufficiency in some countries.

In addition, acute mitral valve insufficiency is often caused by endocarditis and rupture of the chordae tendineae. Therefore, valve prolapse does not necessarily mean valve insufficiency.

In fact, most patients with valve prolapse have mild symptoms. They may not know that they have valve prolapse and may not notice any discomfort. However, some people may have worsening of valve prolapse as they age. Mitral valve prolapse get worse, but patients with severe mitral insufficient are quite rare.

You may be curious, if you have mitral valve prolapse, should you also have tricuspid valve prolapse (Tricuspid valve prolaspse) or other valve prolapse? Yes, it’s just that other valve prolapse conditions are relatively rare, and many patients have combined valve prolapse (Combined valve prolapse), that is, there are more than two valve prolapses.

Although compound valve prolapse is uncommon, multiple or mixed valve disease, such as mitral valve insufficiency combined with tricuspid valve insufficiency (not necessarily prolapse), is not uncommon.

Mitral insufficiency (or regurgitation) definition

As the name suggests, mitral insufficiency (or regurgitation) means that the valve cannot be completely closed when closing, and this is not caused by prolapse. For example, symptoms of heart infections such as rheumatic fever and endocarditis It will damage the valve tissue, or those who have had myocardial infarction may have their myocardial tissue and valves damaged.

In addition, cardiomyopathy can cause the heart chambers to expand and create gaps in the originally tight valves, causing blood to flow backwards. In plain language, valvular atresia can be equated to “the valve does not close tightly, causing blood to flow backwards.” The severity of the reflux determines the treatment method for insufficiency.

If the patient has mild blood reflux but no abnormality in the body, they may only continue to follow up and observe; but if symptoms of discomfort have already appeared, the doctor will choose to sew or replace the valve depending on the patient’s condition so that the valve can be re-closed.


Patients with valve prolapse may not necessarily experience blood reflux (incompetence), but the prolapse may worsen and evolve into insufficiency, which is why “valve prolapse combined with insufficiency” is often seen.

After understanding the difference between the two, how can we face or prevent these symptoms from occurring? In fact, it is nothing more than exercising, eating healthily, maintaining good hygiene habits, quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, etc. A healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of valvular disease caused by acquired environmental factors.

Also, don’t forget to have regular check-ups, especially for people who are known to have congenital heart defects or other genetic diseases. They should also have check-ups to prevent possible heart problems.

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