The mitral valve is located between your heart's two left chambers.
The mitral valve has two flaps of tissue, called leaflets, that open and close to ensure that blood flows in only one direction.
When the mitral valve fails to close completely, blood leaks backward inside your heart—a condition called mitral regurgitation.
One type of mitral regurgitation is called degenerative mitral regurgitation (also called primary or organic). It can be related to age, a birth defect, or underlying heart disease.
Dr. Randy Martin, a leading cardiologist specializing in echocardiography, explains how your mitral valve functions and what happens when you have mitral regurgitation.
Mitral regurgitation places an extra burden on your heart and lungs. Over time, some people may develop an enlarged heart because it has to work harder to pump blood through the body. If it is not treated, mitral regurgitation can cause other, more serious problems to your heart, such as heart failure, a condition that occurs when your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the needs of your body.