Mitral insufficiency (MI), mitral regurgitation or mitral incompetence is a disorder of the heart in which the mitral valve does not close properly when the heart pumps out blood. It is the abnormal leaking of blood backwards from the left ventricle, through the mitral valve, into the left atrium, when the left ventricle contracts, i.e. there is regurgitation of blood back into the left atrium. MI is the most common form of valvular heart disease.

The symptoms associated with MI are dependent on which phase of the disease process the individual is in. Individuals with acute MI are typically severely symptomatic and will have the signs and symptoms of acute decompensated congestive heart failure (i.e. shortness of breath, pulmonary edema, orthopnea, and paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea), as well as symptoms of cardiogenic shock (i.e., shortness of breath at rest). Cardiovascular collapse with shock (cardiogenic shock) may be seen in individuals with acute MI due to papillary muscle rupture, rupture of a chorda tendinea or bacterial endocarditis of the mitral valve.

Individuals with chronic compensated MI may be asymptomatic for long periods of time, with a normal exercise tolerance and no evidence of heart failure. Over time, however, there may be decompensation and patients can develop volume overload (congestive heart failure). Symptoms of entry into a decompensated phase may include fatigue, shortness of breath particularly on exertion, and leg swelling. Also there may be development of an irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation.

Findings on clinical examination depend on the severity and duration of MI. The mitral component of the first heart sound is usually soft and with a laterally displaced apex beat, often with heave. The first heart sound is followed by a high-pitched holosystolic murmur at the apex, radiating to the back or clavicular area. Its duration is, as the name suggests, the whole of systole. The loudness of the murmur does not correlate well with the severity of regurgitation. It may be followed by a loud, palpable P2, heard best when lying on the left side. A third heart sound is commonly heard.

In acute cases, the murmur and tachycardia may be the only distinctive signs.

Patients with mitral valve prolapse may have a holosystolic murmur or often a mid-to-late systolic click and a late systolic murmur. Cases with a late systolic regurgitant murmur may still be associated with significant hemodynamic consequences.