Indexed on: 14 Jul '10Published on: 14 Jul '10Published in: European heart journal
Degenerative mitral valve disease often leads to leaflet prolapse due to chordal elongation or rupture, and resulting in mitral valve regurgitation. Guideline referral for surgical intervention centres primarily on symptoms and ventricular dysfunction. The recommended treatment for degenerative mitral valve disease is mitral valve reconstruction, as opposed to valve replacement with a bioprosthetic or mechanical valve, because valve repair is associated with improved event free survival. Recent studies have documented a significant number of patients are not referred in a timely fashion according to established guidelines, and when they are subjected to surgery, an alarming number of patients continue to undergo mitral valve replacement. The debate around appropriate timing of intervention for asymptomatic severe mitral valve regurgitation has put additional emphasis on targeted surgeon referral and the need to ensure a very high rate of mitral valve repair, particularly in the non-elderly population. Current clinical practice remains suboptimal for many patients, and this review explores the need for a 'best practice revolution' in the field of degenerative mitral valve regurgitation.