Barlow’s syndrome is a common type of heart valve disease in which the valve between the left heart chambers cannot close appropriately and bulges in an upward direction into the left atrium; due to this issue, the blood leaks backward across the valve. Some other names for Barlow’s syndrome are:
- Mitral valve prolapse
- Click-murmur syndrome
- Myxomatous mitral valve disease
- Billowing mitral valve syndrome
- Mitral prolapse
- Floppy valve syndrome
Causes of Barlow’s syndrome
Four valves are present in the heart, which are helpful in proper blood flow; the mitral valve is one of them. These valves have flaps that close and close in every heartbeat. When the mitral valves turn floppy, they bulge backward into the heart’s upper left chamber; when the heart squeezes, the blood leaks back, and the blood supply to the heart and body gets disturbed. If this leakage turns severe, there is a shortage of blood supply to the heart or other body parts, resulting in patients feeling fatigued and shortness of breath; this condition is known as mitral valve regurgitation. The disease may cause heart rhythm problems or heart failure if the disease gets complicated.
Symptoms of Barlow’s syndrome
Barlow’s syndrome disease starts from mild and slowly develops in the body. Many people do not have any symptoms of this disease in the initial stage. When Barlow’s syndrome develops gradually over time, signs and symptoms appear in the body. Some of the common signs and symptoms of Barlow’s syndrome are the following:
- Fatigue is the most common symptom of mitral valve regulation
- Palpitation ( rapid or fluttering heartbeat)
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pain in chest
- Panic and anxiety
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Murmuring of heart
- Shortness of breath while lying flat, excretion, or during physical activity.
- Reduced ability for any physical activity
- Loss of consciousness
When to see a doctor:
Contact the doctor immediately if you feel chest pain or suffer from severe shortness of breath. Your symptoms may worsen over time, so contact an expert cardiologist for the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of your heart disease.
During diagnosis, your cardiologist asks you about your medical history and performs a physical exam. With the help of the stethoscope, he checks your heartbeat and notices the murmuring and other symptoms. He may order the following tests after your physical exam for a proper diagnosis:
- Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram is an ultrasound test of the heart to detect the functioning of the heart valves and chambers. In this test, the doctor uses sound waves to create pictures of the internal heart structure to see the defect in the functioning of the heart.
- Electrocardiogram: An electrocardiogram is a standard, painless test that records the heart’s electrical activity. It is used to detect the position and size of your heart chambers. Electrocardiogram will also help the doctor to determine the enlargement of heart chambers and arrhythmia.
If the disease turns severe, your cardiologist might also order the following test:
- Stress Echo: The stress Echo or stress Echocardiography is a test used to determine the working of your heart and the blood vessels. During the tests, the doctor may request you to exercise on a treadmill or on a stationary bicycle to notice your heartbeat and blood pressure.
- Cardiac catheterization: In cardiac catheterization, the doctor inserts a Catheter (a thin tube made of medical-grade materials) into the chambers or the heart’s vessel. This process can be done for diagnostic and interventional purposes to examine the functioning of the heart.
- Cardiac MRI: A Cardiac MRI is a safe, non-invasive, and painless method to get the internal picture of your heart without any surgical incision. Cardiac MRI is primarily used to diagnose heart diseases, detect heart damage, and notice blood flow in heart valves and chambers.
Treatments for Barlow’s syndrome
Barlow’s syndrome is a mild disease and does not affect the patient’s health, but there isn’t any treatment required for this disease. You only needed therapy in the following cases:
- When the symptoms get worse
- Patient face arrhythmias
- The functioning of the heart decreases
- When mitral valve regurgitation turned severe
- When the left atrium or left ventricle of the heart enlarged
If blood flow leakage is detected in an earlier stage, it can be easily treated with the help of medication. If your disease turns severe, the doctors move forward for heart surgery. In this heart surgery, the doctor replaces or repairs the defective valve, improving the symptoms and reducing the risk of arrhythmias or heart failure.
Risk factors of Barlow’s syndrome
Some of the risk factors which increase the risk of Barlow’s syndrome are the following:
- Having an age of more than 50
- Ebstein’s anomaly
- Have Scoliosis
- Grave’s disease
- Have rheumatic fever
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Muscular dystrophy
- Marfan syndrome
- Have a family history of Barlow’s syndrome
- Have some muscle dystrophy
Complications of Barlow’s syndrome
If Barlow’s syndrome gets complicated, people may suffer from the following conditions:
- Heart failure
- Mitral valve regurgitation
The doctor may suggest the following lifestyle changes to prevent Barlow’s syndrome:
- A heart-healthy diet that is low in salt decreases stress and blood pressure
- Use of medicines that reduce the risk of arrhythmias
- Use of medications that lowers the blood pressure
- Limit the use of Alcohol and caffeine
- Get regular checkups
- Reduce stress in your life
- Improve your physical activities