Exercise testing may help predict seriousness of mitral regurgitation

December 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 regurgitation who perform well on the treadmill will likely remain healthy and not have to undergo further testing for a number of years. This gives these patients peace of mind," says principal investigator Dr. Phyllis G. Supino, associate research professor of public health in medicine and associate research professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Developed in its most simple form in the 1920s, exercise tolerance testing (ETT) is used commonly to assess the progression of coronary artery disease and the severity of aortic stenosis.

In mitral regurgitation, the mitral valve does not close completely, as it should, when the heart contracts, allowing blood to flow backward instead of forward, limiting blood flow to the body. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, cough, heart palpitations, swollen feet or ankles, and excessive urination. A characteristic heart murmur can be heard with a stethoscope.

In the current study, researchers followed 38 patients with chronic severe nonischemic MR (that is, MR not due to a prior heart attack) for an average of seven years. All underwent ETT at study entry. Patients who could continue exercising for 15 minutes or longer (of a maximum total of 18 minutes) had a fivefold lower annual risk of developing heart failure or other evidence of severe heart dysfunction necessitating surgery, compared to patients who were unable to exercise for that length of time.

In patients with chronic severe nonischemic MR, progression to surgical indications generally is rapid. There are two surgical options for the treatment of MR: mitral valve replacement and mitral valve repair.
-end-
The study was co-led by Dr. Borer and Dr. Supino. Co-authors included Drs. Clare Hochreiter, Paul Kligfield, Edmund M. Herrold and Jacek J. Preibisz -- all of Weill Cornell Medical College; Dr. Anuj Gupta, now at Columbia; and Dr. Karlheinz Schuleri, now at Johns Hopkins University.

For more information, patients may call (866) NYP-NEWS.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, education, research and community service. Weill Cornell physician-scientists have been responsible for many medical advances -- from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, the first indication of bone marrow's critical role in tumor growth, and, most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. NewYork-Presbyterian, which is ranked sixth on the U.S.News & World Report's list of top hospitals, also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion. Weill Cornell Medical College is the first U.S. medical college to offer a medical degree overseas and maintains a strong global presence in Austria, Brazil, Haiti, Tanzania, Turkey and Qatar. For more information, visit www.nyp.org and www.med.cornell.edu.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.