Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse is an
abnormality in one of the valves of the heart. It is also known
as MVP, click-murmur syndrome, Barlow's syndrome, balloon
mitral valve and floppy valve syndrome.
In a normal heart, blood flows from the left atrium chamber through
the mitral valve into the left ventricle. The blood is then pumped
out of the left ventricle and circulated through the body's blood
vessels. When this happens, the two halves (leaflets or cusps)
of the mitral valve close to prevents blood from being pushed
back into the left atrium.
In mitral valve prolapse, the two halves of the mitral valve
are larger than they should be. When the two halves close, they
prolapse or "flop" backward into the left atrium and
do not close up evenly. As a result, blood can flow backward through
the crack (with a characteristing clicking and whoosing or murmuring
How Common is it?
Mitral valve prolapse is a common condition - it is estimated
that about 1 in 10 people have it, most with no symptoms or health
If you know that you have this condition, you should notify your
doctor, surgeon, and dentists before any medical procedure, as
heart abnormality may cause it to become more susceptible to bacterial
infection or endocarditis.
Symptoms of Mitral Valve Prolapse
The symptoms of this condition include:
- Chest pain, often vague or subtle
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat (fluttering or skipping a beat)
The cause of chest pain is not exactly known - medically, it
is considered a discomfort rather than a serious health concern.
Diagnosis of Mitral Valve Prolapse
Your doctor would perform the following tests to diagnose mitral
- Examination using stethoscope
A characteristic murmur, whooshing or clicking sound can be
Also called a heart ultrasound, this technique can show the
prolapse or flopping of the mitral valve.
In some cases, stress on the flopping valve halves can cause
a cord that stabilize these halves to break. This will cause more
blood to leak through in a condition called mitral regurgitation.
Treatment for Mitral Valve Prolapse
Most people with mitral valve prolapse do not have any symtoms
or health problems. However, persistent irregular heartbeat may
require prescription medicine, such as beta blockers,
to slow and stabilize heartbeat.
Severe valve abnormalities or damage (such as in mitral regurgitation)
may require surgery to repair or replace the valve.