Mitral regurgitation (MR) refers to the lack of competence of the mitral valve (one of the four heart valves) leading to blood flowing back towards the lungs with every heart beat instead of the normal forward motion supplying the organs with oxygenated blood.
It is a severe cardiac disease with progressively increasing symptoms starting with shortness of breath and reaching, if untreated, congestive heart failure and death. The gold standard treatment when symptoms have reached a severe degree is open heart surgery. Despite this well controlled yet invasive procedure, a large proportion of patients are denied this treatment because they are inoperable or at high risk due to frailty or significant co-morbidities. This population is currently left with limited treatment options.”
This disease is progressively more prevalent with age (19% of the population with mild MR over 54 years of age). It is estimated that over 4 million patients currently suffer from mitral regurgitation in western countries.
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