Mitral Valve Prolapse
A type of heart valve abnormality, mitral valve prolapse is a disorder of the heart in which there is some problem with the closing of the valve between left upper chamber of the heart and the left lower chamber. As a result, the mitral valve does not close fully, as the contraction of the heart causes leaflets of the valve to bulge upward or back into the left atrium. The condition can cause the blood to leak backward into the left atrium. The leaky heart valve is one of the common causes of heart murmur.
Mitral Valve Prolapse Symptoms
Though it is a life-long condition, some people aren’t affected by the disorder and show no major symptoms of valve backflow. However, this does not mean that the disorder isn’t related to any symptoms. Some of the most common MVP signs and symptoms include:
- Racing or irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain not caused by coronary artery disease
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue, anxiety
- Chest discomfort
The symptoms may vary from person to person. They can become mild or worsen at times.
Mitral Valve Prolpase Causes
Under normal conditions, the contraction of left ventricle causes the mitral valve to close completely, preventing blood from back flowing into the upper left chamber. Some people with the disorder experience bulging of one or both leaflets with extra tissue into the left atrium with the contraction of the heart. As a result of the bulging, the valve may not close tightly, causing blood leakage backward through the valve. The condition is termed as mitral valve regurgitation.
Also known as click murmur syndrome, mitral valve prolapse can be diagnosed during heart examination. When a doctor uses a stethoscope, a clicking sound may be heard from the heart, with the billowing out of the valve’s leaflets. It is followed by a murmuring sound, which is caused by backflow of blood into the atrium.
The condition can be confirmed with an echocardiogram and may require an antibiotic therapy before any procedure is performed, which risks introducing bacteria into the blood. The American Heart Association suggests that antibiotics aren’t a crucial part of the treatment process and may not be required for people with mitral valve prolapsed or regurgitation.
Mitral valve prolapsed is common among women aged 20-40 years, though it may occur in men as well. However, severe symptoms of the disorder are common among men above 50 years of age. It may run into families and be associated with other conditions, including
- Graves’ disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Marfan syndrome
- Ebstein’s anomaly
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Mitral Valve Prolapse Complications
- Mitral valve regurgitation – Blood flows back into the left atrium. Men with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of the disorder. In severe cases, surgery may be required to repair or replace the valve to prevent further complications, including heart stroke.
- Arrhythmia – Heart rhythm problems affect the upper chambers of the heart. People with severe valve deformity or regurgitation are at a high risk of serious rhythm problems. The condition affects blood flow through the heart.
- Endocarditis – A form of heart valve infection, endocarditis affects the inner lining of the heart. If you have an abnormal mitral valve, you are at a higher risk of endocarditis from bacteria.
Mitral Valve Prolapse Treatment
The doctor may prescribe beta-blockers, diuretics , blood thinners, or heart rhythm medications for anyone suffering from mitral valve prolapse. In severe cases, surgery may be required to repair or replace the mitral valve.