Papillary Muscle Rupture as a Complication of Barlow’s Disease

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Ile Kuzmanoski
Aleksandra Georgieva
Ana Chelikikj
Valentina Andova


INTRODUCTION: Mitral regurgitation (MR) is the second most common valvulopathy worldwide, which can be divided into primary and secondary. According to Carpentier’s classification, the primary MR is further divided into three types. Type II, which includes Barlow’s disease, is described as excessive mobility of the mitral valve (MV) leaflets. Morbus Barlow is a common form of degenerative disease, with an incidence of 2–3% of the general population. Echocardiography plays an important role in its diagnosis. It is a usually benign condition, with only a few severe complications.

CASE REPORT: A 75-year-old male with a history of MR, for more than 10 years. On admission, the patient presented with severe fatigue and dyspnea with signs of heart failure and pleural effusion. On auscultation, a systolic murmur was noted, on all the precordium. The ECG revealed sinus rhythm with HR of 71/min and intermittent ventricular extrasystoles. An immediate transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) was performed showing myxomatous degeneration of both MV leaflets and a prolapse of the posterior leaflet. A severe MR was detected with a presumption of papillary muscle rupture (PMR). It also revealed enlarged left atrium and ventricle (LVEDd - 67 mm and LA - 46 mm), with preserved systolic function (EF~54%) and tricuspid regurgitation accompanied by pulmonary hypertension. The laboratory analyses were within normal ranges. The patient was transferred to a cardiovascular surgery clinic, where an immediate MV repair was performed.

CONCLUSION: Barlow’s disease is a common echocardiography finding. Although a benign condition, it can rarely present with serious complications such as PMR, ventricular arrhythmias, and even sudden cardiac death. Echocardiography is the first imaging used for the detection of Barlow’s disease and other MV diseases. Early recognition and confirmation with TTE or transesophageal echocardiography, plays also an appropriate treatment, play a key role in patient survival and overall prognosis.


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Kuzmanoski I, Georgieva A, Chelikikj A, Andova V. Papillary Muscle Rupture as a Complication of Barlow’s Disease. SEE J Cardiol [Internet]. 2022 Nov. 20 [cited 2024 Apr. 23];3(1):15-7. Available from:
Cardiovascular Imaging


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