Mitral valve regurgitation — or mitral regurgitation — happens when your heart's mitral valve doesn't close tightly, which allows blood to flow backward in your heart. When the mitral valve doesn't work properly, blood can't move through your heart or to the rest of your body as efficiently, making you feel tired or out of breath. Mitral valve regurgitation is also called mitral insufficiency or mitral incompetence.

Treatment of mitral valve regurgitation depends on how severe your condition is, whether it's getting worse, and signs and symptoms. For mild cases, treatment may not be necessary. You may need heart surgery to repair or replace the valve for more-severe cases. Left untreated, severe mitral valve regurgitation can cause heart failure or serious heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias).

Sep. 15, 2011