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    Mitral Valve Regurgitation and Exercise

    Mitral Valve Regurgitation and Exercise

    Topic Overview

    If you have mild to moderate mitral valve regurgitation (MR) and do not have symptoms, you likely do not have to limit your physical activity.

    If you do have symptoms or if you have irregular heart rhythms or changes in your heart size or function, you may need to be cautious about physical activity. But regular activity, even low-level activity such as walking, will help keep your heart healthy. If you want to start being more active, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor will help you create a safe exercise plan.

    If you have questions or concerns about what physical activities are appropriate for you, talk to your doctor. Even with MR, you may be able to develop an exercise plan that suits your lifestyle.

    If you have severe MR, you may need to limit your physical activity.

    • If you have no symptoms and your left ventricle functions normally, you can likely participate in normal physical activity and exercise without limitation. 1
    • If you have mild to moderate regurgitation and normal heart function, you can participate in normal physical activity.
    • If you have mild to moderate regurgitation and reduced heart function, ask your doctor what level and type of activity is safe for you. You might be able to exercise at low or moderate aerobic levels such as walking or swimming.

    You may need to avoid isometric exercise, which is exercise that uses muscle contraction to strengthen and tone your muscles. Isometric exercise usually involves pushing against resistance, as in weight lifting. These types of exercises can elevate your blood pressure, thereby increasing the force against which your heart must pump blood. As a rule, avoid activities that involve sudden physical exertion at a level that is significantly greater than that required for your normal activities.

    Related Information

    References

    Citations

    1. Bonow RO, et al. (2008). 2008 Focused update incorporated into the ACC/AHA 2006 Guidelines for the management of patients with valvular heart disease: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines (Writing committee to revise the 1998 Guidelines for the management of patients with valvular heart disease). Circulation, 118(15): e523?e661.

    Credits

    By Healthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
    Specialist Medical Reviewer John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
    Last Revised November 29, 2011

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