Several factors can increase your risk of mitral valve regurgitation, including:

  • A history of mitral valve prolapse or mitral valve stenosis. However, having either condition doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop mitral valve regurgitation. In fact, most people with mitral valve prolapse never develop severe regurgitation.
  • A past heart attack. A heart attack can damage your heart, affecting the function of the mitral valve.
  • Use of certain medications. People who take ergotamine and similar medicines for migraines and those who took pergolide (now removed from the market) have an increased risk of mitral regurgitation. Similar problems were noted with the appetite suppressants fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine, which are no longer sold.
  • Infections such as endocarditis or rheumatic fever. Infections can damage the mitral valve.
  • Congenital heart disease. Some people are born with an abnormal mitral valve prone to regurgitation. Often babies born with heart defects may have more than one problem, such as a hole in the upper chambers of the heart (atrial septal defect) and an abnormal mitral valve.
  • Age. By middle age, many people have some mitral valve regurgitation caused by natural deterioration of the valve. However, mitral valve regurgitation causes symptoms in only a small percentage of older adults.
Sep. 15, 2011

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