Mitral Regurgitation Visualized – For You, Your Family & Friends

By Adam Pick on January 8, 2014

As mitral valve regurgitation is one of the most common forms of heart valve disease, I get a lot of great questions about it. The questions range from “What is leaky mitral regurgitation?” to “What are the causes of mitral valve regurg?” to “Is the disorder dangerous?”

In the past, I have posted several stories and videos about mitral regurgitation. However, I wanted to try something different to educate our community. So, I created a Mitral Regurgitation Infographic. As you will see below, I tried my best to answer the key questions about mitral regurgitation using helpful illustrations and statistics. If you like the graphic, please “Like” or “Tweet” or “Pin” or “Google+”  it. I am hopeful your share will educate many people about this under-diagnosed and dangerous disease.


Mitral Valve Regurgitation Infographic


Many thanks to Dr. David Adams and Gideon Sims at Mount Sinai Hospital for their extraordinary help with this mitral regurgitation infographic. I also want to extend a big thank you to Edwards Lifesciences and Medtronic for contributing several images to the infographic.

So you know… Your Facebook ‘Like’ or ‘Tweet’ or ‘Pin’ can make a difference! As mitral regurgitation is commonly under-diagnosed, the sharing of this infographic might really help your friends or family members learn about the symptoms and dangers of this disease. Simply click the ‘Like’ or ‘Tweet’ or other icons.

In advance, thanks for your help!!!

Keep on tickin!

Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick, Heart Valve Patient Advocate

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Don Hull says on January 13th, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Wow, Adam, this is the best, most complete yet concise, description of mitral valve disease I have seen. Five years ago I was reading everything I could get my hands on after my cardiologist told me I needed surgery to correct my mitral valve regurgitation that had just been re-classified from “moderate” to “severe.” As I’ve posted before, your book was a TREMENDOUS source of good information to help me. My diseased mitral valve was replace in April of 2009 with an Edwards bovine tissue valve.
I frequently refer my friends and others who ask, to your web site and book. This posting today will be an extremely valuable source of information for patients expecting mitral valve surgery.
Thanks so much for all you do in educating us!
Don Hull

Maria Williams says on January 14th, 2014 at 10:53 am

I was diagnosed with severe mitral valve regurgitation which was surgically repaired in Nov. 2010. I completed 36 sessions of cardiac rehab which is imperative to regaining a normal and healthy lifestyle. Prior to surgery I thought I had very few symptoms but I now know that I did have symptoms…just thought I was more inclined toward fatigue and shortness of breath. I was 64 years old when I had the surgery. I am so glad I listened to my cardiologist and had the surgery. I found this infographic very helpful. Thank you, Adam.

Philip Smith says on January 15th, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Excellent info graphic…I will be having my mitral valve repaired in the coming weeks and I now have something that is easy to understand, that I can share with family and friends who do not understand the complexities of the disease and the surgery required to correct it,

My only concern with the graphic is that Robotic Assisted access is not included. I find this strikingly missing. Robotic Assisted Surgery is a safe and effective method of accessing and repairing the mitral valve and is a viable option for many of us requiring mitral valve repair.


Scott Carson says on January 15th, 2014 at 3:40 pm

I want to echo Philip’s comment above regarding Robotic Mitral Valve operations – both Repair and Replacement. My wife recently was diagnosed with Severe Non-symptomatice Mitral Valve Regurgitation. With the regurgitation starting to dilate the Atrium and Ventricle we decided surgery (Class IIA) was the best approach.

My wife was dead set against either Sternotomy approached leaving Port Access was only option. There are 3 ways to perform this, without Robotic Assist, with Robotic assist and totally Endoscopic with Robotic Assist. I absolutely 100% LOVE this site but had to do much of the research on all types of Robotic surgery on my own because the only type of Robotic Surgery really being discussed was via mini-Thoracotomy (Port Access). After doing our research my wife and I decided to have our surgery performed by Dr. Guy Sloane at Temple who prefers a totally Endoscopic approach using Robotic Assistance.

She had her surgery on January 10th (last Friday) and is now home. We arrived home on the 14th. She is not great at Pain tolerance and according to our research this approach SHOULD provide her a repaired valve (check), minimal In-hospital duration (check) and a slightly easier recovery than even Port Access, either with our without Robotic Assistance (to be seen).

As the completely Endoscopic approach is growing in popularity I think you could be an even better Patient/Caregiver educator if it were discussed even more on your site.

Thanks for everything you have done for my wife and our family.

Chris Gartland says on January 23rd, 2014 at 2:15 am

I’m scheduled for mitral valve repair on 2/6/14. Recently diagnosed with severe mitral valve regurgitation. I’m fairly asymptomatic. My surgeon told me he has backed off using the Divinci (Robotic) approach due to less than favorable outcomes. Looks like I’m gonna have the “open heart” surgery I dred. I’m not too far from St. Louis or Memphis. Does anyone know if this “minimally invasive” approach (robotic) has inferior results compared to an “open” approach? Would like to avoid the 8-10 inch scar down the middle of my chest… any input is appreciated…

Phil says on January 24th, 2014 at 4:38 pm

In my research on robotic assisted mitral valve repair, poor outcomes have been a result of lack of experience with the DaVinci Robot. Those docs with many robotic surgeries under their belt have great outcomes. Check out Dr. Chitwood at the East Carolina Heart Institute. He is probably the most accomplished robotic valve surgeon in the US.

Scott Carson says on January 24th, 2014 at 7:02 pm

I had similar results of investigation when looking for a surgeon for my wife. If you get a physician who has done a lot of daVinci procedures they will tell you the opposite. All the published reports I saw from Dr. Chitwood and Doctors at Cleveland Clinic support both the clinical aspects of the Robot (more precision, less invasiveness, better view, etc.) and it’s long-term results. With Dr. Chitwood performing the earliest procedures with the robot he has a ton of data to support nothing but positive results.

Our physician, Dr. Guy at Temple, performed my wife’s surgery using a totally endoscopic approach with no port access, repaired her valve and saw no regurgitation after the procedure either on the table or in recovery. We had a local Cardiology appointment yesterday confirming Zero regurgitation as well. Recovery has been fantastic. Discharged in 4 days and sleeping in bed after day 3 at home. Cosmetically it has been great too.

They key is to find a surgeon has done a LOT of procedures period. If you are interested in minimally invasive approaches find the surgeons who have done a LOT of Robot work. They will tell you the results are the same if not better and recovery is easier. Travel if you have to but find a surgeon you know has the experience, you trust from asking the right questions and you feel comfortable with.

Tony says on March 1st, 2014 at 6:50 am

Has anyone experienced any problems with insurance company’s covering robotic assisted mitral valve repair?

Scott Carson says on March 6th, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Our insurance company accepted the robotic procedure. There is a Modifier for the procedure that increases the cost but my plan did not baulk at the addition. There are arguments to be made that with shorter lengths of stay, less time spent in ICU, minimized risk of post surgical infection, etc., that robots saves money. Longterm research will prove this either positive or negative but. My wife by the way has been back to work for over a month, was out about 1 month, is doing very well at Cardiac Rehab (10 visits in), had limited issues of the wound sites and is gaining strength by the day. With hindsight being 20/20 I am very glad we went completely Endoscopic (vice mini-Thoracotomy via Port Access) with Dr. Guy and feel that if you can find a surgeon like Dr. Guy, Dr. Murphy in Atlanta or even Dr. Chitwood (who uses Port Access) DaVinci is the only way to go. Personal opinion but……..

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