Is mitral valve disease hereditary? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Blood flows through your heart in one direction, with valves at the places where different chambers meet to keep things flowing right. The valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle is called the mitral valve, and cardiovascular surgeon James Gammie at Johns Hopkins says it’s the one that leaks most often.

Gammie: The most common thing that I operate on is the degenerative mitral valve regurgitation. While there have been a few genes identified with some cases, by and large it is a sporadic problem. We do know that there is a familial tendency for mitral valve disease and I would say about one or two out of 10 patients that come to my office with mitral valve disease will tell me that oh my dad or my uncle sometimes both had a mitral valve operation or have mitral valve disease. The biggest risk factor really is age.   :33

Gammie says those with a family history of mitral valve issues should be extra vigilant. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.