Mitral Valve Prolapse
Your mitral valve is supposed to control the flow of blood through your heart.
Sometimes, however, the flaps of your mitral valve are stretched or floppy and unable to close tightly. They bulge (prolapse) upward into the left atrium. As a result, blood can leak backward through the valve into the left atrium. This is a condition called mitral valve regurgitation, which can cause an enlarged heart and increased blood pressure. Mitral valve prolapse can develop in any person at any age, and symptoms can vary widely. It can also run in families. Serious symptoms tend to occur most often in men 50 and older.
In most cases, mitral valve prolapse is harmless and most people are not aware that they have the condition.
Mitral valve prolapse is also called click-murmur syndrome, because a clicking sound or heart murmur may be detected while your doctor is listening to your heart during a physical examination. A battery of cardiac tests can confirm the diagnosis. Patients with no symptoms or mild symptoms may not require treatment. In some cases, regular physician monitoring and medication may be prescribed. More severe cases may require surgery to replace or repair the defective valve.
Symptoms may include:
• Heart palpitations (a racing or irregular heartbeat)
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Chest pain not caused by a heart attack or coronary artery disease
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Migraine headaches
If you’ve already been diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, see your doctor if your symptoms worsen.