Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: How can you tell when a leaky mitral valve needs to be fixed?

I am an 82-year-old man with borderline leakage in my mitral valve. Your article on mitral valve prolapse said, “The operation to repair or replace a leaky mitral valve is big enough that you don’t want to undergo it unnecessarily, but important enough that you don’t want to wait until symptoms develop.” What symptoms or tests would help me and others recognize when it is time to consider having the valve fixed?
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