Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor will ask about your medical history, your family history of heart disease and give you a physical exam that includes listening to your heart with a stethoscope. Mitral valve regurgitation usually produces a heart murmur, the sound of blood leaking backward through the mitral valve.

Your doctor will then decide which tests are needed to make a diagnosis. For testing, you may be referred to a cardiologist.

Diagnostic tests

Common tests to diagnose mitral valve stenosis include:

  • Echocardiogram. Sound waves directed at your heart from a wand-like device (transducer) held on your chest produce video images of your heart in motion. An echocardiogram helps your doctor get a close look at the mitral valve and how well it's working.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). Wires (electrodes) attached to adhesive pads on your skin measure electrical impulses from your heart, providing information about your heart rhythm. You might walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike during an ECG to see how your heart responds to exertion.
  • Chest X-ray. This enables your doctor to determine whether the left atrium or the left ventricle is enlarged — possible indicators of mitral valve regurgitation — and the condition of your lungs.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram. A small transducer attached to the end of a tube is inserted down your esophagus, which allows a closer look at the mitral valve than a regular echocardiogram does.
  • Cardiac catheterization. This invasive technique involves threading a thin tube (catheter) through a blood vessel in your arm or groin to an artery in your heart and injecting dye through the catheter to make the artery visible on an X-ray. This provides a detailed picture of your heart arteries and how your heart functions. It can also measure the pressure inside the heart chambers.
Aug. 28, 2014

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