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Exercise testing may help predict seriousness of mitral regurgitation
Date:12/11/2007

NEW YORK (Dec. 11, 2007) -- In as many as one in five people over age 55, when the heart contracts to send blood around the body, some degree of backward leakage occurs across the mitral valve, a condition known as mitral regurgitation (MR). When sufficiently severe, MR causes buildup of blood in the lungs, leading to difficulty in breathing (dyspnea, or "shortness of breath"), a serious condition called congestive heart failure. MR also can cause heart rhythm irregularities (arrhythmias) such as atrial fibrillation, which can lead to strokes and other problems, and ventricular tachycardia, which can cause sudden death.

A new study finds that monitoring the capacity of these patients to exercise on a treadmill -- an evaluation called exercise tolerance testing (ETT) -- may be useful in predicting the condition's progression and whether the patient will need surgery. Led by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, the research is published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

"Mitral regurgitation can be very benign, going unnoticed for many years, or can be severe, impeding the heart's proper function and leading to complications, even death. There are few accurate ways to predict the seriousness of a single case, and these methods require fairly sophisticated and expensive imaging. Our study shows that exercise tolerance testing, a simple procedure often performed in doctors' offices, is an excellent tool for predicting if the patient is deteriorating and needs surgery," says Dr. Jeffrey S. Borer, a study co-author ; director of the Howard Gilman Institute for Valvular Heart Diseases at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell; and the Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and professor of cardiovascular medicine in cardiothoracic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"We found that exercise testing is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to predict outcomes. Patients with mitral regurg
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Contact: Emily Berlanstein
eab2007@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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