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Valve co-founder Gabe Newell is sending a titanium garden gnome into space, a move that may sound like the unchecked vanity of a software billionaire, but is actually being done for scientific.
Inside the four chambers of your heart is a system designed to pump blood throughout your body. When that system works properly, blood flows through two chambers on the right side of your heart, then into the lungs where red blood cells pick up oxygen. From there it travels back into the two chambers on the left side of your heart before going back out to your body with a fresh supply of oxygen for your cells.
Between those two chambers on the left side—your left atrium and left ventricle—is themitral valve. This valve opens to allow blood into the left ventricle, then closes again to keep blood from flowing backwards into the left atrium or the lungs.
Understanding mitral valve prolapse
Dr. Craig Selzman, a cardiothoracic surgeon at University of Utah Health, explained that the mitral valve is like a saloon door that swings open and closed to separate the lungs from the main pumping chamber. If the saloon door swings backward into the saloon, blood flows the wrong way back into the lungs, which makes people short of breath and makes the heart work a lot harder to pump blood out.
The mitral valve is very complex. The leaflets on either side are connected to the lower chamber of the heart with small cords—kind of like parachute cords, according to Dr. Selzman. When the mitral valve leaflets close, the cords tighten to keep it from swinging too far. If any of these parts are damaged or not working properly, you can experience a mitral valve leak (also sometimes called mitral valve regurgitation).
One of the most common causes for mitral valve leaks is a condition called mitral valve prolapse (MVP). This occurs when one or both leaflets bulge or “balloon” so they can’t form a tight seal in the middle. That leaves enough space for some of the blood to go back through to the left atrium, and in some cases, back to the lungs.
Symptoms of mitral valve prolapse
Some people might have mitral valve prolapse without any symptoms at all, while others might experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Mild symptoms usually include:
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness during exercise or exertion
- Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Feeling that your heart is “racing”
As the condition becomes more severe, your symptoms can get worse. You may notice:
- Significant swelling in your legs and feet (a condition called edema)
- Severe chest congestion
- Difficulty breathing or catching your breath
- Bloating in the abdomen area
What causes mitral valve prolapse, and who’s at risk
Anyone can develop mitral valve prolapse, although it is more likely to occur in men over the age of 50. It is often the result of a genetic condition so it tends to run in families and might be linked to:
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- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Marfan syndrome
- Graves’ disease
- Ebstein anomaly
You are more likely to develop symptoms if your mitral valve has extra tissue, which causes the valve to stretch or balloon. You can also develop MVP when the cords that are supposed to keep the valve from swinging too far either break or get stretched out.
When to see a doctor about mitral valve prolapse
There are people who have MVP without many (or any) symptoms. In that case you will probably never know that you have it unless it is revealed in an echocardiogram (echo), which is a diagnostic tool used to look at your heart. Your doctor probably won’t recommend any treatment if you don’t have any symptoms or issues.
You should see your primary care physician or a cardiologist if you experience symptoms thought to be related to mitral valve prolapse. For example, if you frequently have shortness of breath or irregular heartbeats, mention it to your primary care physician during your next annual check-up. You can also schedule an appointment sooner if your symptoms are severe, and you should definitely see a doctor right away if symptoms are getting worse.
If your doctor hears an irregular murmur with their stethoscope, they will probably order an echocardiogram imaging test to confirm whether you have MVP.
Treatments and potential complications for mitral valve prolapse
The most common treatment option for people with severe MVP is surgery. There are two options your doctor may discuss with you if he or she thinks you should have surgery:
- Mitral valve repair, where a surgeon repairs your own mitral valve to get the leaflets to close properly
- Mitral valve replacement, where a surgeon replaces your mitral valve with a new one made of metal or tissue from an animal donor
With both of these surgical procedures, there are different ways the surgeon can approach it, including:
- Full sternotomy – the surgeon makes a large incision in the center of your chest to access your heart through the sternum (commonly referred to as “open heart surgery”).
- Partial sternotomy – similar to a full sternectomy, but the surgeon makes a smaller incision in just the upper part of the sternum to access your mitral valve.
- Right thoracotomy – the surgeon makes several very small incisions around your ribcage and uses special instruments to repair or replace your mitral valve. This procedure is still an “open heart” surgery because the surgeon is repairing or replacing a valve inside your heart, but it is minimally invasive, so recovery is usually quicker and less painful than a full or partial sternectomy.
- Transcatheter mitral valve repair – the surgeon places a device called a MitraClip® around your mitral valve to reduce leakage and help with symptoms. This procedure is only recommended for patients who are at higher risk and cannot have traditional open heart surgery.
The specific type of surgery that will work best for you depends on several factors. Your doctor will review your medical history and whether they think they can repair your existing mitral valve, or if it will require a full replacement. It’s important to talk to your doctor about what you can expect before, during, and after the surgery to properly prepare for it.
If you need a mitral valve replacement you will have to be on a blood thinner for at least several months, and possibly for the rest of your life. As with any surgical procedure, the most common complications from a mitral valve repair or replacement surgery include risks of:
Mitral valve repairs may also fail, and if they do you will need an additional surgery to replace your mitral valve at a later time.
Finding the right care to treat mitral valve prolapse
According to Dr. Selzman, not every cardiac surgeon knows how to perform a mitral valve repair or replacement surgery. Even those who do it a few times a year might not have a lot of experience, which can increase the risk of complications. That’s why it’s important to seek out a medical center like University of Utah Health. As a regional tertiary and quaternary cardiac care center, surgeons see more patients with complex health conditions and perform more mitral valve surgeries every year, leading to better outcomes.
Find out more about the Mitral Valve Program at UofU Health or schedule an appointment to see a specialist about treatment options for mitral valve prolapse.TF2 Fight Songs Album is Getting a Free Expansion Pack
July 10, 2020 - TF2 Team
People always talk about what a great musician Mozart was. But you know who never updated any of his albums with free music? Go ahead, guess.
Did you guess Team Fortress 2? Bzzt. Wrong. Because we're adding three new numbers from our Jungle Inferno update to the TF2 Fight Songs album. If you bought Fight Songs on Steam, you don't have to do anything, because the songs have automatically been added to your account.
If you bought Fight Songs somewhere else, or even if you didn’t buy Fight Songs, or even if you stole Fight Songs, or did any of those things and then later sold Fight Songs, or bought a recording studio out of spite and recorded a competing version of Fight Songs… look, you’re not on trial here. Download all three songs for free and we’ll forget the whole thing ever happened.
Anyway, did you guess yet? Did you guess Mozart? Because that’s what we guessed, too. Except we looked him up while you were reading and it turns out he’s famous for updating all his hit albums. But you know what he hasn’t done yet? Make his sheet music and Sibelius files available for free, like we’re doing literally right now: Sheet music. Sibelius files. Checkmate, Mozart. See you in hell.
A Hell of a Campaign
May 4, 2020 - TF2 Team
Rick May, the inimitable voice of the Soldier for thirteen years, many shorts and countless updates, passed away this April at age 79. We were lucky enough to work with Rick many times in the studio over the past decade. A quick-witted and kind-hearted collaborator, Rick endowed the character with a trademark bellow and bootfulls of idiotic charm. The Soldier wouldn’t be the Soldier without him.
We are honoring Rick during the month of May with an in-game Soldier statue that will play some of Rick’s signature lines. He will be missed by the Team Fortress dev team and community, and remembered for the indelible character he helped bring to life for so many years.
Merry Smissmas, Everyone!
December 16, 2019 - TF2 Team
It's that time of the year again! Merry Smissmas!
New Community Cosmetics, War Paints, and Unusual Effects
We've added 18 new community cosmetics, 10 new community War Paints, and 17 new community Unusual effects! Plus, the Festivizer can be found as a bonus drop when opening the Winter 2019 Cosmetic Case, and the taunt Unusualifier can be found as a bonus drop when opening the Winter 2019 War Paint Case!
Big Sale in the Mann Co. Store
It wouldn't be Smissmas without the Spirit of Practically Giving. Look for 50% off tons of items, taunts, and tools in the Mann Co. Store through January 7th, 2020.
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And last but not least... Stocking stuffers for everyone! Merry Smissmas! See you in 2020!
August 12, 2019 - TF2 Team
The biggest event on the Competitive TF2 calendar is back again! Teams and players from around the entire world will be heading to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England, to the Insomnia Gaming Festival for their chance at glory and a share of the prize pool. Taking place from Friday, August 23rd, to Sunday, August 25th, the event will feature three days of non-stop action and the highest level of competition the game has to offer.
If you wish to support the event there is an ongoing fundraiser where you can donate money or purchase a range of items; money raised goes towards the production, prize pool, and supporting the North American team, Ascent.NA, attending to represent their region.
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Signups for the tournament are here. However, if you can’t make it, the event will be streamed both at the event and online by EssentialsTF over at their Twitch page. For the latest information, be sure to check out LAN.TF to follow the tournament live.
Update on The Crate Depression of 2019
August 2, 2019 - TF2 Team
On the evening of Thursday, July 25th, a bug was introduced that allowed some older crates to grant an Unusual hat on every opening. We fixed the bug the following morning and decided to trade-lock the hats from the bugged crates while we evaluated the situation.
Over the past week, we have been discussing ways to address this situation with the goal of minimizing the impact on the TF2 community as a whole, while preserving the experience of customers who had simply opened a crate, made a trade, or purchased from the market on the 25th, unaware that a bug produced their item.
During our investigation we discovered that a small number of accounts acquired these hats and a smaller portion of those accounts acquired an exceedingly large number of them. Based on this, we've decided that if you currently own one of these Unusual hats, the first one added to your account will be made tradable. Any other Unusual you have received due to the bug will remain permanently trade locked. If you decide that you would rather not have these trade-locked hats on your account, you may instead elect a full refund on any number of them.
The number of Unusual items being made tradable represents about one month of the regular Unusual drop rate.
A few of you were concerned that you had done something wrong by opening a bugged crate, and proceeded to delete your hats. While we appreciate the concern, you didn't do anything wrong, so hats from bugged crates deleted before the tradable date will be restored to your accounts with the same restrictions described above.
Item tradability, restoration, and the refund support page will be made available in about a week's time. Refunds will be the full price paid for any hats, crates or keys bought on the Steam Community Market or Mann Co. store. We will post an update when that exact date becomes available.
We apologize for the inconvenience of this incident, and we’ve added safeguards to prevent incidents like this in the future.
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Update Aug 16: One unusual per account has been made tradable as described above. Affected users should visit the following support page for information about affected items and to submit refund requests if eligible: https://help.steampowered.com/en/wizard/HelpWithItemBug