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Am J Cardiol. 1988 Jan 1;61(1):152-60.

Double-orifice mitral valve: a study of 27 postmortem cases with developmental, diagnostic and surgical considerations.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


What is double-orifice mitral valve anatomically and embryologically? In 27 postmortem cases, an anomaly of the tensor apparatus was always found. These malformations may be summarized as: (1) chordal ring; (2) accessory papillary muscle or muscles; (3) subdividing muscular ridge; (4) fused papillary muscles (parachute mitral valve); (5) crossing chordae tendineae; and (6) central fibrous subdivision. More than 1 of these anomalies often coexisted per case. Double-orifice mitral valve almost always consisted of abnormal holes in essentially normal leaflets, rather than of abnormal fibrous bridges or adhesions between normal leaflets. Since these fibrous "bridges" between the smaller accessory orifice and the larger main orifice are composed of mitral leaflet tissue and chordae, not fibrous adhesions, these bridges should not be transected surgically, to avoid iatrogenic mitral regurgitation. The accessory (smaller) orifice was at the anterolateral commissure in 11 cases (41%), at the posteromedial commissure in 12 (44%) and there was a central fibrous subdivision with approximately equal-sized orifices in 4 (15%). The atrioventricular (AV) canal was normally divided in 12 cases (44%) and a common AV canal was present in 15 (56%). When the accessory orifice was at the anterolateral commissure, the AV canal usually was normally divided (8 of 11, 73%). But when the accessory orifice was at the posteromedial commissure, a common AV canal almost always was present (11 of 12, 92%). Functionally, the mitral valve was normal in 13 (48%), regurgitated in 7 (26%) and stenotic in 7 (26%). The key to the diagnostic and surgical understanding of the double-orifice mitral valve is the underlying tensor apparatus.

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