Background and aim of the study: Although mitral regurgitation (MR) is a well-recognized prognosis factor, its true prevalence is probably underestimated and its etiology and mechanisms have not been sufficiently explored. The study aim was to evaluate the burden of MR, focusing attention on its frequency, severity, etiology, mechanism, and other associated conditions.
Methods: Between February and June 2015, a total of 39,855 consecutive echocardiographic studies was performed at nine tertiary hospitals, and were prospectively included in the study. MR severity was graded into four groups, ranging from none or trace to severe MR, in accordance with the recommendations of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging. Patients with moderate to severe MR were selected for the analysis.
Results: MR was detected in 22.6% of cases. MR severity was mild in 82.5% of patients (n = 7,376), moderate in 11.7% (n = 1,048), and severe in 5.8% (n = 521). Concomitant valvular heart disease was present in 3,544 patients (39.7%), with tricuspid regurgitation the most frequently encountered (21.6%). Among moderate and severe MR, primary MR was more frequent than secondary MR (58.8% versus 23.5%), with degenerative valve disease being the most common cause of primary MR (49.2%). A third group composed of mixed forms of MR was described in 17.8% of cases.
Conclusions: MR is a common finding on echocardiography, and is frequently associated with other valvular heart disease. Most MRs are of degenerative origin. The primary and secondary forms of MR differ significantly in their clinical presentation with regard to gender, age, and ventricular function. There appears to be a gap for a 'mixed' group, though further studies are needed to confirm this suggestion.