Dr. Aklog explains the causes of mitral valve disease/MVD.
There are several causes of mitral valve disease, actually quite a few, but there are a handful of common causes. The most common cause of mitral valve disease is a process called "degenerative valve disease" where portions of the valves wear out over time. So the valve, which normally opens and closes and has a variety of structures, fairly complex structures, that allow it to open and close and form a seal properly, is damaged by wear and tear.
So, for example, their structure is called "chords," parachute-like strings that come off of the valve that hold it in place when the valve seals. Those chords can break. They can stretch and prevent the proper functioning of the valve. Other causes, less common causes of mitral valve disease, include infection where bacteria or other organisms can seed themselves on the valve and cause the valve to be damaged and therefore not work properly.
Patients who have had previous heart attacks or have weakened hearts, the heart itself stretches out, and what that causes, that puts traction on the valve and prevents the valve from coming together and forming a proper seal. So patients who have had heart attacks can get particularly leaky mitral valves.
A disease that used to be more common in the past but still exists, called "rheumatic heart disease" is also a cause of mitral valve disease and particularly mitral stenosis where the valve becomes narrow. Rheumatic heart disease occurs after the patient typically in their childhood years or early adolescence will get rheumatic fever and a bacterial infection that can cause gradual inflammation and scarring of the valve over the next 20, 30, or 40 years which can ultimately show up as a blocked mitral valve. Those are the main causes; the other less common causes such as a trauma or injury that can also cause abnormalities with mitral valve.
About Dr. Aklog, M.D.:
Dr. Lishan Aklog is the current Director and Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at The Heart and Lung Institute of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona and Director of EmpowHer's Medical Advisory Board. Specializing in adult cardiac care, he graduated from Harvard College followed by Harvard Medical School. Dr. Aklog was a cardiothoracic resident at Brigham and Women’s/Boston Children’s Hospital, an Associate Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, and completed international fellowships in London, England and Paris, France.
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