Among the valves in your heart the most likely to leak is the mitral valve, Elizabeth Tracey reports


Between the chambers on the left side of your heart is a valve called the mitral valve, designed to prevent blood from flowing backward when the heart squeezes. Cardiovascular surgeon James Gammie at Johns Hopkins says this valve is most likely to develop problems.

Gammie: The most common type is what we call degenerative mitral valve disease which is where the valve leaks. There's two leaflets, each one is supported by about 15 or 16 small cords. Imagine you had two parachutes that were open right next to each other. That's what the valve looks like. As we age those cords that support the valve and the two flaps as the heart squeezes the two flaps come together and prevent any back flow of blood and what can happen is that those cords that support the two leaflets can either elongate or rupture.   :34

Gammie says the good news is mitral valve leakage can often be repaired, without the need to replace the valve. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.