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Can a leaking mitral valve be genetic? I am an identical twin.

My identical twin sister only found out that she has a mild mitral valve leak, from an echocardiogram. I just made an appointment for an echo for myself to see if I have it also, because we are very identical. We are 72 years old, but are in very good shape and health. We exercise on a treadmill 30 minutes a day and walk when the weather is good. In fact, we both have almost the same cholesterol. Her HDL is 72, mine is 71; her LDL is 101, mine is 102; her triglycerides are 65 and so are mine. And all our other numbers are the same, too. She lives in Brooklyn, NY & I live in Staten Island NY. She and I have the same lifestyles. That is why I am wondering if I can possibly have a mitral valve leak also? The only thing wrong with both of us is that we both have glaucoma, with the same eye pressure, which is under control of 17/17. I know glaucoma is hereditary, but is a mitral valve leakage also genetic?

submitted by Kaye from Staten Island, New York on 4/12/2013


Dr. Paolo Angeliniby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Paolo Angelini, MD    

Some forms of Mitral Valve Prolapse are indeed under genetic influence. This fact has very little to do with prognosis and treatment, however. Genetic studies are not recommended or needed for clinical use for this condition. You are indeed very similar, as advertised for identical twins. Congratulations on your excellent health.

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Updated April 2013
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