After diagnosis of Mild mitral valve ... - British Heart Fou...

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After diagnosis of Mild mitral valve regurgitation, do I continue exercising and living as normal?

Ry81 profile image

Hello, I've just turned 40. Very recently, after echocardiogram, was diagnosed with mild mitral regurgitation. This followed gradual worsening of symptoms after hospital admission for severe skin and joint inflammation and breathing difficulties in Jan '20.

I consider myself quite physically fit, running regularly. Since hospital admission, I have experienced elevated heart rate when exercising (over 200bpm during 'easy' running), huge fatigue, palpations, rash and, most disturbing, frequent nocturnal dyspnea. Echo has revealed mitral leakage.

GP advises I carry on as normal and that it's congenital. I disagree with this hypothesis and feel it's linked to inflammation and infection I had in 2020. Never been diagnosed with murmur and previous echocardiogram in 2011 after pneumothorax didn't flag any issue.

I guess my question is: Do I just go about my normal life and exercise routine and follow GP advice of "business as usual"? Or, should I ask for cardiologist referral due to symptoms I've described above actually getting more severe? Especially the high heart rate at quite easy and low intensity exercise, plus the fact that I'm woken up several times at night, really struggling to breathe. Your advice would be really appreciated. I'm not someone to panic and fear the worst, preferring just to go with whatever's thrown my way. I just have a nagging doubt that this diagnosis could be progressive, has been caused by inflammation and that there's more to it than the "just get on with it" message my GP has given me.

Thanks a lot, Ry

6 Replies

I've had mine for 16 years and it's slowly getting worse I'm now at the point where I'm on bisoprolol to calm down some of the extra beats and the episodes of my heart slowing down, one big thud and racing, I suggest you speak to your cardiologist or gp as laying down in bed can give me episodes etc but since I took the bisoprolol it does really help. I was sleeping sitting up at one point because of all the weird stuff that was going on with my heart.

One thing I say is talk to your cardiologist or go about the problems you have and they might give you a low dose of it to cope. (This is the main thing you need to do)

I do go about my every day life as normal there are things I choose not todo because they make me feel uncomfortable etc, my cardiologist told me not to lift anything over 15kg but other than that carry on as normal. I bike 8 miles every Sunday to go fishing and all sorts.

I let my mitral valve leak keep me house bound for a good 2 years, had panic attacks, anxiety etc but you learn to live with it and everything you eat and drink makes a huge difference.

For me I can't drink anything caffeinated or fizzy, so standard decaf tea or some type of flavoured water (although sugary stuff does it to or eating to much pudding) fatty and junk foods do it so again most days is a veg day etc.

It's all about learning to live with it and changing your life style to suit what sets off all the extra things that go with heart valve leak.

Sorry for my long post and hopefully it helps a little :)

Ry81 profile image
Ry81 in reply to Farmer87

Hey,Thanks so much for such a positive, helpful and hopeful reply. Cycling 8 miles to go fishing sounds like an absolute dream day!

I think I may seek a second opinion/review(so to speak) I really respect how you manage your diagnosis and symptoms by taking control, making small changes, and living your life on your terms. Thanks again!

I am not a Dr and you really need to check with your cardiologist. But I was diagnosed with mild mitral valve regurgitation over a decade ago. I carried on with my normal life, including exercise until I was asked to attend for an echo in Feb 2020.

I was apparently seriously ill by then and had an urgent mitral valve replacement in June 2020. Drs don’t know why it had progressed as it had, but I suspect that it was a result of serious, enduring stress that started in October 2017. I was on the verge of developing broken heart syndrome after a series of terrible, horrible events that occurred in the same year.

Hello! I was shocked to be diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation in May 2020 aged 53. The cardiologist said it was currently more mild than moderate. (Apparently, it was due to having rheumatic fever as a child, which was news to me!) I had/have no breathing difficulties/palpitations or issues with my ejection fraction (EF) but the cardiologist said no high intensity exercise but regular moderate exercise, to avoid strain on the heart. I was also told to take half a betablocker a day (2.5mg) and aspirin. I was not happy about taking tablets but I was told, either take them and see me in three years or don't and come back in 12 months. My GP confirmed this will protect my heart.I was given a treadmill test (i.e. running on one, whilst wired up) as well as an echo and angiogram. This shows how your heart performs under pressure. Have you had one?

Also everything I have ever read on MV regurgitation says to signal worsening symptoms to health professionals, particularly breathlessness. I suggest ringing the nurses at the BHF for their view but I would want to see a cardiologist. All the best.

Ry81 profile image
Ry81 in reply to SuperFluff

Hey, I hope the regular half beta blocker and aspirin can occasionally be augmented with a fine, fermented grape juice.Thanks for your experience and advice. I think I may do one of those online requests to my GP, asking for referral and just highlighting the regularity of waking up in a breathless panic, and gently requesting a stress test. How strange about the rheumatic fever, ay?! Months after I was discharged from hospital, I found out that my admission was caused by severe strep infection that wasn't diagnosed and treated in hospital. I was treated with steroids for a reaction to something unknown, rather than antibiotics for an infection. I feel all things heart related since lead back to that.

Thank you for helping me to feel that I'm not just a neurotic crank! All the best to you. Onwards and upwards!

Alison_L profile image
Alison_L in reply to Ry81

There's no harm in indulging in the odd fine, fermented grape juice :)

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