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Exams and Tests

During a routine physical exam, your health care provider will listen to your heart with a stethoscope. If your provider hears a heart murmur, he or she may suspect you have mitral regurgitation.

Other tests will be ordered to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the type of damage or issue with your heart valve. Those tests can include the following:

  • An echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) of your heart helps assess the severity of how leaky the valve is. It also helps categorize your condition as primary or secondary MR.
  • A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is a special type of ultrasound that looks at the mitral valve from a different angle. In this test, a camera is passed down the esophagus through the throat (using moderate sedation) to get a closer look at your heart valves.
  • A stress test may also be ordered to help evaluate any symptoms you might have during exercise.
  • A cardiac MRI is a specialized test that looks at the mitral valve in another way to help measure the severity of mitral regurgitation. It can be used if the echocardiogram or stress tests don't provide enough information.
  • A cardiac catheterization (heart catheterization or coronary angiogram) may be performed if the results of other less invasive tests are not consistent with symptoms. A small plastic tube is inserted into an artery in your wrist or groin and pushed all the way up toward the heart. The test can measure the pressures around the valves. Sometimes, the test involves using dye to show where the blood flows once it gets to the heart. This test also can reveal blockages in your heart arteries that could contribute to your symptoms.