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 and lower chambers on the left side of the heart. Normally, blood should only flow 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 lower chamber.
Prolapsed Mitral Valve
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Causes

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

Risk Factors

MVP is more common in women, and most often appears between the ages of 14 and 30 years old. Other factors that may increase your chance of MVP include:

Symptoms

People with mitral valve prolapse often do not have symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may include one or more of the following:
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Panic attacks or anxiety
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness

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 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.

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