Heart Valve Defect Common in Patients With Thyroid Disease
WebMD News Archive
In previous studies, MVP has been found in otherwise healthy people with
autoimmune disorders such as arthralgias (joint pain), alopecia (loss of hair),
and Raynaud's syndrome (a condition in which the fingers get cold and turn blue
because of decreased blood flow). David S. H. Bell, MD, published a study in
1996 showing an increased incidence of MVP in patients with type 1 diabetes
which also has an autoimmune component.
"I found that 45.1% of patients with type I diabetes had documented
mitral valve prolapse," Bell, director of the endocrine clinic at the
University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, tells WebMD. His
literature search showed that 41% of patients with Graves' disease and 41% with
Hashimoto's thyroiditis also had MVP.
However, when Bell evaluated patients with MVP who did not have Graves'
disease or Hashimoto's thyroiditis, he found no increase in genetic markers.
"If there is an association with autoimmune disease, it's not showing up in
the classic genetic markers we have for autoimmune disease," he says.
Bell tells WebMD he evaluates patients with diabetes for presence of MVP and
often uses the MVP diagnosis as criteria for distinguishing between type 1 and
type 2 diabetes. He adds that although MVP can be a benign condition,
antibiotics are recommended for patients with MVP when undergoing dental work
or surgery, therefore, physicians should look carefully for MVP in patients
with autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, Graves' disease, and Hashimoto's
- Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a heart condition in which the mitral valve
does not close properly and blood leaks into the left atrium of the heart.
- MVP occurs in 5 to 15% of the general population under 40 but is much more
prevalent among patients who have autoimmune thyroid disease.
- Although MVP can be a benign condition, doctors should screen patients with
autoimmune thyroid disorders because those who have it will need antibiotics
during dental work or surgery.