Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) is a heart disease that affects the valve allocated between the left heart chambers. The leaflets (flaps) of the left heart chamber are floppy. As the heart contracts, they prolapse (bulge backward) like a parachute in the left upper section of the heart. Mitral valve prolapse sometimes causes the blood to leak back, known as mitral valve regurgitation. This disease is not fatal or life-threatening. It does not require any drastic change in lifestyle and daily routine. Moreover, treatment (medications or surgery) is mandatory for those patients who face severe regurgitation.
Mitral valve prolapse is also referred to as;
- Barlow syndrome
- Billowing mitral valve syndrome
- Click-murmur syndrome
- Floppy valve syndrome
- Mitral prolapse
- Myxomatous mitral valve disease
Symptoms of Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)
There is no specific symptom of mitral valve prolapse. Sometimes, you face signs, but you may not have a severe condition. Severity and symptoms do not always go hand-in-hand. However, the following are some symptoms;
- Shortness of breath
- Orthostatic hypertension
- Pain in chest
- Heart palpitation
- Mitral valve prolapse murmur: MVP does not have a particular symptom, but a murmur can be detected. If a murmur is seen during a routine physical examination, an echo (endocardiogram) is recommended. The echo evaluates the characteristics of valve cusps and the leaking flow of blood from the valve in regurgitation. Another test, named cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), can be performed, which is also called cardiac MRI.
Causes of Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)
There is no particular known cause of mitral valve prolapse. It affects about 3% of the population and is more prominent in women than men. This condition can develop with age. Moreover, it is hereditary and can be transferred in generations. The following condition can lead to mitral valve prolapse;
- Marfan syndrome: A genetic disorder that affects the connective tissues.
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome: A group of inherited genetic disorders affecting your connective tissues, mainly skin, joints, and blood vessels.
- Ebstein anomaly: A congenital rare heart problem in which the disorientation of the tricuspid valve and leaflets or valve flaps are malformed.
- Muscular dystrophy: A group of genetic diseases associated with the degeneration of movement-controlling muscle.
- Graves’ disease: A autoimmune disease that triggers overactivity of thyroid gland-hyperthyroidism.
- Scoliosis: An abnormal curving of the spine.
Diagnosis of Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)
This disorder can be observed during a routine physical examination. Your doctor may notice a click or murmur during analysis. The clicking sound occurs due to the stretched valve flaps snapping against each other. The murmur sound is an indication of blood leakage into your left atrium.
Your doctor will recommend further testing like echocardiography and cardiovascular imaging techniques to analyze the severity of the condition. These are the following procedure that can be used for mitral valve prolapse diagnosis;
- Transthoracic echocardiogram-TEE: Using ultrasonic waves to generate an image of the heart.
- Electrocardiogram-ECG: A simple test used to monitor the rhythm of the heart and its electrical activity.
- Chest X-ray
- Stress test
Treatment of Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)
MVP has no drastic impact on your health; therefore, it does not require any drastic lifestyle modification. Discuss the severity of your risk with the doctor and take the recommended medications per the doctor’s advice. People having an abnormal mitral valve are treated with mitral valve repair or mitral valve replacement if the symptoms are;
- Getting worse
- Regurgitation becomes severe
- Enlargement of the left ventricle or left atrium of the heart
- Development of Arrhythmias
- Ejection fraction (decrease in the heart’s functioning)
It is rarely a severe or life-threatening disorder. However, in most cases, it may lead to an uncontrolled or abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmias), which can be life-threatening. When the mitral valve is significant enough to cause regurgitation, this condition can lead to severe damage like a heart attack or heart stroke. The leakage of the valve causes the enlargement of the left atrium that disturbs the heart’s rhythm, called atrial fibrillation. This state leads to the formation of blood clots. These clots, when passing through the veins or arteries, can produce heart attack or stroke. Replacement or repair is traditionally performed through open surgery. Other techniques like minimally invasive and percutaneous have also been introduced.