Mitral Valve Prolapse

As you are aware of, our heart has four valves including pulmonary valve, mitral valve, aortic valve and tricuspid valve. The mitral valve connects the left atrium and left ventricles and facilitates blood flow from the former to the later. The mitral valve contains two flaps known by the name leaflets located between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart. Mitral valve prolapse is a one of the most common abnormality related to mitral valve. Here is what you need to know about the condition.

What is mitral valve prolapse?
Mitral valve prolapse is a vulvular heart disease in which the two mitral valve flaps will not close properly. Instead the flaps will bulge or prolapse upward towards the left atrium. This may allow the blood to leak backwards towards the left atrium. In mitral valve prolapse patients, the structural protein collagen accumulates abnormally leading to enlargement, thickening and redundancy of the mitral leaflets. The process is known as myxomatous degeneration.
Mitral Valve prolapse is also known by the names click-murmur syndrome, Barlow’s syndrome, myxomatous mitral valve, prolapsing mitral valve syndrome or floppy valve syndrome.

What is mitral valve prolapse serious?
Mitral valve prolapse may not be harmful for a long time. However, mitral valve prolapse is the most common reason for mitral regurgitation, which can lead to a heart failure.

Read about the signs and symptoms of mitral valve prolapse

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Chest discomfort 
  • Fatigue & dizziness
  • Headache
  • Palpitation- Fast and irregular heartbeats
  • Sharp chest pains  
  • Anxiety, panic attacks and depression

Risks related to mitral valve prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse is found in people of all age groups. Normally people with high blood pressure have mitral valve prolapse. The signs and symptoms show up mostly after 50 years of age.
The two major risks related to MVP are:
1) Arrhythmias

The backflow of blood in patients with mitral valve prolapse may lead to other serious conditions over a period of time. When the blood flows backward, it increases the strain in the heart muscles. Gradually it will lead to arrhythmias, a change in the rate of heartbeat.
2) Valve Infection
The backflow of the blood may cause infection in the inner lining tissues of the valve. This is because of the abnormal valve attracting bacteria in the blood stream. The patient will experience fever, cough, body aches, and headaches with infection. Dental hygiene is necessary to prevent possibilities of infection.
When you should consult doctor?
You should visit the doctor in case of a murmur sound from the heart, accompanied with fatigue, dizziness, chest discomfort etc. The doctor may advise for an echocardiogram. A MRI scan or angiogram may be advised for confirmation.
Treatment for mitral valve prolapse
Treatment for mitral valve prolapse is not necessary if it is mild or without symptoms. Beta blockers, heart rhythm medications, aspirin, blood thinners etc are advised depending on the severity of the condition. A cardiac surgery may be needed to replace or repair prolapse in severe conditions with or without symptoms.

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