Mitral Valve Prolapse
What Is It?
The Mitral Valve regulates the movement of blood from the left atrium into the left ventricle which is the main pumping chamber of the heart because it pumps blood to the body.
In mitral valve prolapse (MVP), the valve leaflets are too large and bend backwards (prolapse) into the left atrium as the heart beats. The degree of prolapse is variable.
This is fairly common heart defect that affect about 2% of the population and it occurs in approximately twice as many girls as boys.
Mitral valve prolapse sometimes leads to blood leaking backward into the left atrium, a condition called mitral valve regurgitation.
In most people, mitral valve prolapse isn’t life-threatening and doesn’t require treatment or changes in lifestyle. Some people with mitral valve prolapse, however, require treatment.
Although mitral valve prolapse is usually a lifelong disorder, many people with this condition never have symptoms. When diagnosed, people may be surprised to learn that they have a heart condition.
When signs and symptoms do occur, it may be because blood is leaking backward through the valve (regurgitation). Mitral valve prolapse symptoms can vary widely from one person to another. They tend to be mild and develop gradually. Symptoms may include:
A racing or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, often when lying flat or during physical activity
Chest pain that’s not caused by a heart attack or coronary artery disease
When to see a doctor?
If you think you have any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.
Many other conditions cause the same symptoms as mitral valve prolapse, so only a visit to your doctor can determine the cause of your symptoms. If you’re having chest pain and you’re unsure if it could be a heart attack, seek emergency medical care immediately.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, see your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
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