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Mitral Valve Prolapse - Exams and Tests

Since most people with mitral valve prolapse (MVP) do not have symptoms, MVP is usually discovered during a routine health exam.

In some women who are only mildly affected by MVP, the condition may become undetectable after middle age.

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Medical history and physical exam

Your doctor may suspect MVP if he or she hears a click or murmur while listening to your heartbeat. This click or murmur happens because the mitral valve is not shaped normally. MVP may be discovered if you have a test called an echocardiogram that is done for another reason.

If your doctor thinks you may have MVP, he or she will ask if you have a family history of MVP or heart disease and will conduct a physical exam to check for MVP. During the exam, he or she will listen closely to your heart.

To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may request an echocardiogram if you haven't had one. Your doctor may also evaluate you for other heart conditions.

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram is the most useful test for confirming that you have mitral valve prolapse. It is also useful to rule out MVP. Echocardiograms require careful review by an experienced doctor, because MVP is difficult to detect with this test. Some people who have MVP will have a normal echocardiogram.

Regular echocardiograms are not needed if you do not have symptoms or complications of MVP.

Early detection and regular exams

Screening for MVP is not recommended or necessary.

If you have MVP, you will have regular follow-up exams. How often you need these exams is based on whether you have complications like mitral valve regurgitation or thickened valve flaps (leaflets). If you do not have symptoms or complications, your doctor may suggest an exam every 3 to 5 years.1

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 23, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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