The papillary muscles are the ones that you can find attached to the heart’s ventricles. These muscles’ primary function is to contract so that the mitral and tricuspid valves do not collapse and invert. These muscles attach to the atrioventricular valves via the chordae tendinae. There are actually 5 papillary muscles in the heart, three of which are on the right and two on the left. Prior to ventricular systole, these muscles tend to contract and remain contracted for over a specified duration. When these muscles fail to function properly, some problems would arise. The failure of the papillary muscles to contract would result to the backflow of blood into the atrial cavities. There are also certain conditions which cause the papillary muscles to work properly. When an infarct is present in the heart, the papillary muscles tend to rupture. Ischemia over the heart may also result to a mitral valve prolapse. Heart attack, cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure may all lead to papillary muscle disease.
Ruptured papillary muscles are often an emergency situation. It is imperative to know the complications of ruptured papillary muscles. Following papillary rupture, the blood would backflow into the atria and back to the lungs. Thus, the initial manifestation of a ruptured papillary muscle is difficulty of breathing. Indeed, this is a life-threatening condition that calls for immediate medical attention. It is, however, tough to detect when one has a ruptured papillary muscle. Only through sophisticated tests such as CT scan and MRIs that the condition may be detected. When you suspect that a person is suffering from ruptured papillary muscles as manifested by its symptoms, do not be hesitant to rush to the nearest hospital so as prompt medical treatment can be rendered to avoid further complications. Ruptured papillary muscles can be repaired only through surgery.