• Mitral Valve Prolapse

    (MVP; Floppy Valve Syndrome; Barlow's Syndrome; Click-Murmur Syndrome)

    Definition

    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.
    Prolapsed Mitral Valve
    Nucleus factsheet image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    In most cases, the cause of MVP is unknown. In some cases, it appears to be an inherited genetic condition. Rarely, MVP may be caused by:

    Risk Factors

    A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

    Symptoms

    People with mitral valve prolapse often have no symptoms at all. If symptoms do occur, however, they may include one or more of the following:
    • Irregular heart beat
    • Fatigue
    • Chest pain
    • Panic attacks or anxiety
    • Rapid heartbeat (palpitations)
    • Sensation of missed heartbeats
    • Shortness of breath
    • Dizziness
    • Intestinal problems (such as irritable bowel syndrome)

    Diagnosis

    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 echocardiogram can confirm the diagnosis. You may also be asked to wear a Holter monitor for a day or two to record the electrical activity of your heart continuously (EKG).

    Treatment

    In most cases, no treatment is necessary. Although no longer routinely recommended, you may need to take antibiotics prior to some dental and medical procedures. This is to prevent infections. Ask your doctor if you will need to take antibiotics.
    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.

    Prevention

    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 doctor's recommendations.

    RESOURCES

    American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

    National Library of Medicine http://www.nlm.nih.gov/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca/

    Canadian Family Physician http://www.cfpc.ca/

    References

    American Dental Association. Antibiotic prophylaxis. American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/2157.aspx. Accessed August 30, 2010.

    American Heart Association. New guidelines regarding antibiotics to prevent infective endocarditis. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/. Accessed August 30, 2010.

    American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/. Accessed July 17, 2009.

    Mitral valve prolapse. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mitral-valve-prolapse/DS00504. Updated June 2009. Accessed July 17, 2009.

    National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/. Accessed July 17, 2009.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.