Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a common, usually benign heart disorder. The mitral valve controls blood flow between the upper (atrium) and lower (ventricle) chambers on the left side of the heart. Normally, blood should only flow in one direction, from the upper chamber into the lower chamber. In MVP, the valve flaps don’t work properly; part of the valve balloons into the atrium, which may be associated with blood flowing in the wrong direction, or leaking back into the atrium.
Mitral valve prolapse can be heard through a stethoscope. A small blood leakage will sound like a murmur. When the mitral valve balloons backward, it may produce a clicking sound. Both murmurs and clicks are telltale signs of MVP. An
can confirm the diagnosis. You may also be asked to wear a Holter monitor for a day or two to continuously record the electrical activity of your heart (EKG).
In most cases, no treatment is necessary. Speak with your doctor about whether you should take antibiotics prior to dental work or surgery. Antibiotics may help to prevent
, an infection of the membrane that covers the inside of the heart.
If symptoms include chest pain, anxiety, or panic attacks, a beta-blocker medication can be prescribed. Ask your doctor whether you may continue to participate in your usual athletic activities.
In very rare cases, the blood leakage may become severe. In these few cases, the mitral valve may need to be surgically repaired or replaced.
There are no guidelines for preventing MVP of unknown or genetic origin.
You may be able to prevent symptoms, however, through certain lifestyle changes:
Limit your intake of caffeine.
Avoid medications (such as decongestants) that speed up your heart rate.
Exercise regularly, following your healthcare provider’s recommendations for intensity.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a