What is mitral valve prolapse?
Your mitral valve
controls blood flow on the left side of your heart. The valve opens and closes
with each heartbeat. It works like a one-way gate, letting blood flow from your
upper heart chamber to your lower chamber.
When you have mitral
valve prolapse (MVP) , the valve closes after blood flows through. But the valve
bulges backward a little. It looks like a tiny parachute or balloon as it
bulges. (See a picture of
mitral valve prolapse .)
Mitral valve prolapse is the most common heart valve problem. It is more common in people who have a family history of this problem.
Is mitral valve prolapse a serious heart problem?
No. Mitral valve prolapse is not dangerous. It usually does not damage
your heart. You can live a normal life without changing your activities or how
But a few people with this condition develop another
problem. If the valve does not close tightly enough, blood can leak
(regurgitate) into the upper chamber. This is called
mitral valve regurgitation. The heart then has to work
harder to pump this extra blood. Over time, this can damage the heart.
What are the symptoms?
You probably will not have
any symptoms from mitral valve prolapse. You may not even know you have it
until a doctor hears a "clicking" sound or a murmur when listening to your
But some people may feel that their heart is beating too
fast or "pounding." This feeling is called palpitations. Others may have brief
What causes mitral valve prolapse?
prolapse is caused by a physical change in the valve. Physical changes such as
thickening and abnormal shapes cause most of the cases of MVP. What causes
these physical changes is not known. A valve problem may be passed down through
How is mitral valve prolapse diagnosed?
cases, mitral valve prolapse is found during a regular doctor visit. If your
doctor hears a certain "click" or murmur sound when listening to your heart, he
or she may want you to have a test to check for mitral valve prolapse. This
test is called an
Will you need treatment?
You will probably not
need treatment for mitral valve prolapse. Your doctor may want you to have regular exams every 3 to 5 years. A normal lifestyle and regular exercise are recommended for most