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Double Orifice Mitral Valve

Editor: Yuvraj S. Chowdhury Updated: 2/26/2024 7:55:16 PM


Double-orifice mitral valve mitral valve, a rare congenital or acquired anomaly, is characterized by a mitral valve with a single fibrous annulus resulting in 2 orifices.[1] First described by British pathologist William Smith Greenfield in 1876, literature on double-orifice mitral valves has been limited to case reports and small necropsy-based case series.[1] Typically asymptomatic, the anomaly allows for normal blood flow between the 2 chambers of the left heart; however, symptoms may arise due to the development of mitral valve dysfunction, such as stenosis or regurgitation.


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Congenital double-orifice mitral valve is often associated with other congenital cardiac anomalies, such as coarctation of the aorta, patent ductus arteriosus, and bicuspid aortic valve, suggesting the underlying etiology may be an endocardial cushion defect.[2] In an autopsy case series, the most common congenital cardiac defect associated with a double-orifice mitral valve was an atrioventricular septal defect.[3] While most cases are congenital, there are documented cases of acquired double-orifice mitral valve repair due to calcification or after edge-to-edge mitral valve repair, surgical or percutaneous, as with transcatheter mitral valve repair.[4][5]

Based on echocardiographic features, there are 3 morphological types of congenital double-orifice mitral valve: eccentric, central, and duplicate mitral valve.[6] The eccentric type accounts for approximately 85% of cases and is characterized by a larger main orifice and a smaller accessory orifice at either the posteromedial or anterolateral commissure.[6][7] The central or bridge type is seen in 15% of patients with double-orifice mitral valve and is characterized by a central bridge of fibrous tissue connecting the 2 leaflets of the mitral valve.[6] The 2 orifices may be of the same size or unequal. The duplicate mitral valve type consists of 2 mitral valve annuli and valves, each possessing leaflets, commissures, papillary muscles, and chordae.[6]


Due to its rarity, epidemiological data on double-orifice mitral valves is limited. A postmortem study conducted on 2,733 autopsied cases from the Cardiac Registry of Boston Children’s Hospital found 28 double-orifice mitral valves (1% of autopsied patients).[7] A retrospective study involving echocardiographic data in the adult population revealed an estimated incidence of 0.06 %.[8] As with the US, international data is deficient; however, in a Polish retrospective study involving echocardiographic studies of 79,919 patients between 1993 and 2006, the incidence was 0.01%.[9] Currently, no reports suggest a gender preference. 


Several classifications have been proposed based on double-orifice mitral valves' etiology or morphological appearance. The majority of cases are attributed to congenital anomalies of the native valve. However, an acquired form of the double-orifice mitral valve can arise when mitral annular calcifications affect the second scallop of the anterior leaflet and the second scallop of the posterior leaflet, causing the mitral valve orifice to split into 2.[10] Iatrogenic interventions, both surgical (Alfieri stitch) and percutaneous (MitraClip®) edge-to-edge mitral repair, have been documented as underlying causes of double-orifice mitral valves.[4][5] In congenital anomalies of the underlying native valve, double-orifice mitral valves occur due to the abnormal fusion of the dorsal endocardial and the left lateral endocardial cushions with the persistence of the left part of the common atrioventricular canal.[1]

History and Physical

Double-orifice mitral valves are typically asymptomatic unless accompanied by mitral stenosis, mitral regurgitation, or a concurrent congenital cardiac anomaly. In patients with congenital heart defects, clinical manifestations are often related to that specific disorder, as there are no distinctive signs of a double-orifice mitral valve. In an isolated double-orifice mitral valve, symptom severity is contingent on blood flow turbulence and left atrial pressure, resulting in pulmonary congestion.

Symptoms in the pediatric population are primarily due to diminished cardiac output, leading to symptoms. These symptoms range from tachypnea, dyspnea, and wheezing to poor feeding and failure to thrive. Asymptomatic patients may have an unremarkable physical examination since an isolated double-orifice mitral valve is typically benign, even to cardiac auscultation.

If complicated by mitral stenosis, a low-pitched mid-diastolic murmur may be detected at the apex. Similarly, a double-orifice mitral valve with mitral regurgitation may exhibit a blowing pansystolic murmur at the apical region. As symptoms progress, clinical signs of heart failure, such as increased work of breathing, peripheral cyanosis, elevated jugular venous pressure, palpation of a parasternal heave, pulmonary crackles on auscultation, and peripheral edema, may become apparent.[11]


Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), 2-dimensional (2-D) or 3-dimensional (3-D), is the primary method for assessing a double-orifice mitral valve.[12] The double orifices of double-orifice mitral valves are best evaluated in the parasternal short-axis view, while the apical and subcostal 4-chamber views are best visualized using the subvalvular apparatus. The addition of 3-D TTE, complementing 2-D TTE, enhances the assessment of mitral valve anatomy and function. 3-D TTE accurately assesses the size and spatial relationships of the mitral valve and intracardiac structures, allowing for detailed inspection of the chordal attachments and sub-valvular apparatus abnormalities.[1]

The addition of color Doppler provides essential information on mitral valve flow, aiding in assessing valve regurgitation or stenosis. Preoperative transesophageal echocardiography is generally unnecessary, but an intraoperative approach is routinely used to confirm preoperative electrocardiogram (ECG) findings.[13] Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging is of limited utility and is generally not pursued.[14] Other nonspecific data can be acquired using a chest x-ray and an ECG. For instance, a chest x-ray may reveal left atrial enlargement and evidence of pulmonary congestion, such as upper lobe diversion, increased interstitial markings, and Kerley B lines. An ECG will be normal in an isolated double-orifice mitral valve. However, possible findings include P mitrale (if left atrial enlargement is present) and voltage criteria for left ventricular hypertrophy (if mitral incompetence is severe enough).

Treatment / Management

Management of double-orifice mitral valves depends primarily on whether patients are symptomatic, which directly correlates to the degree of mitral valve dysfunction. Asymptomatic patients are advised to undergo interval TTE, although current guidelines do not specify the frequency. Symptomatic double-orifice mitral valve management includes medical therapy, noninvasive intervention, or a surgical approach.

Medical therapy aims to alleviate symptoms of heart failure and pulmonary congestion until more definitive treatment is sought for mitral valve dysfunction. This is particularly crucial in the pediatric population, where managing congestive heart failure symptoms is essential until the infant reaches an age suitable for specific valve interventions. In cases of double-orifice mitral valve with mitral stenosis, percutaneous transcatheter balloon dilatation is a viable option for relieving the obstruction. Surgical mitral valvuloplasty or valve replacement may be considered if balloon dilatation is impractical or unsuccessful.[4]

Symptomatic patients with a regurgitant valve should be evaluated for surgical repair, including leaflet plication and potential division of the bridging tissue.[15][16] Regarding double-orifice mitral valves, surgical closure of 1 of the orifices might lead to the acute diminution of the mitral valve area with a resultant stenotic flow.[17](B3)

During surgery on a double-orifice mitral valve, it is imperative to exercise caution to prevent the accidental severing of the isthmus between the orifices. Such an action can lead to substantial mitral regurgitation, posing a considerable challenge for repair due to the insufficient supporting chordae tendineae in the central part of the valve. In instances where double-orifice valves exhibit stenosis, addressing any underlying secondary causes, such as obstructive lesions in the papillary muscle, may contribute to constriction.

Occasionally, a division may occur in the leading panel of the larger aperture. Utilizing practical expertise to evaluate whether corrective measures are necessary is recommended. Thoughtful consideration is essential to assess the potential impact on stenosis resulting from repairing the division versus the extent of regurgitation if the issue is left untreated.

Differential Diagnosis

Double-orifice mitral valve is a distinctive disorder with nonspecific symptomatology. The development of symptoms correlates to the degree of mitral valve dysfunction, the left atrial pressure, and the degree of pulmonary venous congestion. In adults, it is essential to consider other causes of mitral valve disease, such as rheumatic heart disease, functional mitral regurgitation, myocardial ischemia, annular calcifications in the elderly, connective tissue disorders, myxomatous degeneration, and infective endocarditis.[18] Double-orifice mitral valves should be considered in the pediatric population when another congenital heart disease is present, such as coarctation of the aorta, patent ductus arteriosus, bicuspid aortic valve, and atrioventricular septal defect.


In asymptomatic patients without mitral valve dysfunction, the prognosis of a double-orifice mitral valve is reassuring. However, no prospective studies currently establish a timeline for progression from a double-orifice mitral valve to mitral valve dysfunction. Some patients develop early dysfunction in infancy, while others may develop it in adulthood.[16][19] With noninvasive techniques, the survival rate following intervention for mitral valve dysfunction is significantly higher than that of surgical valve replacement.[20]


Complications associated with double-orifice mitral valves include mitral valve dysfunction, such as mitral stenosis and mitral regurgitation, with resulting pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure. Atrial arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter, have occurred directly due to a double-orifice mitral valve, leading to the potential occurrence of embolic strokes in affected patients.[21]

Deterrence and Patient Education

Double-orifice mitral valve is typically an incidental finding while investigating other cardiac pathologies. While asymptomatic on its own, it can progress to mitral valve dysfunction, prompting treatment through medications and noninvasive or surgical valve intervention. Upon diagnosis, patients should be referred to a cardiologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon, with close monitoring through interval TTE. Symptomatic patients are advised to limit physical activity and seek medical attention if signs of heart failure, such as shortness of breath, cough, leg swelling, or weight gain develop. Medications may be prescribed at this stage to manage heart failure until the dysfunctional mitral valve can be repaired.

Pearls and Other Issues

Key facts to keep in mind about double-orifice mitral valves are as follows:

  • Double-orifice mitral valve can present with variable anatomy. The 2 orifices may be of equal size or different sizes, and they may be side by side or separated by a bridge of tissue.
  • It is common for a double-orifice mitral valve to be associated with other congenital heart anomalies, such as atrioventricular septal defects or papillary muscles and chordae tendineae abnormalities.
  • The functional impact of a double-orifice mitral valve can vary. In some cases, it may not cause significant hemodynamic effects or symptoms. However, it can contribute to mitral regurgitation or stenosis in other instances.
  • Diagnosis is typically confirmed through cardiac imaging studies, including echocardiography. Both 2-D and 3-D echocardiography can be valuable in visualizing the double-orifice mitral valve and assessing its structure and function.
  • The clinical implications of a double-orifice mitral valve depend on its specific characteristics and whether it is associated with other heart abnormalities. Some cases require monitoring without intervention, while others necessitate surgical correction.
  • Surgical treatment may be considered if the double-orifice mitral valve is causing significant symptoms or associated complications such as mitral regurgitation or stenosis. The approach to surgery depends on the specific anatomy and related anomalies.

Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

Ensuring proper patient care and improved outcomes involves a collaborative team approach in managing patients with a double-orifice mitral valve. As double-orifice mitral valves are primarily asymptomatic and have a low incidence rate, echocardiography technicians and cardiologists should be vigilant, especially when acquiring parasternal short-axis views, scanning from the base to the apex to assess the subvalvular structures.

Early referral to a cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon is warranted. A double-orifice mitral valve is typically managed on an outpatient basis, with inpatient care reserved for acutely decompensated heart failure and further workup. Currently, valve intervention is recommended only when there is valve dysfunction, emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive risk versus benefit discussion among the cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon, and the patient for optimal decision-making.



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