Mitral Valve Prolapse
What is Mitral Valve Prolapse?
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a weak or bulging mitral valve in your heart. Your mitral valve has two flaps that open and close. It allows blood to flow through your heart in one direction. MVP is a common heart condition that often has no signs or symptoms.
What increases my risk for mitral valve prolapse?
Most people who have MVP are born with it. The following may increase your risk for MVP:
- Family history of MVP.
- Connective tissue problems, such as Marfan syndrome.
- Muscle or skeletal problems, such as scoliosis.
- Heart disease or heart attack.
- Thyroid problems, such as Graves disease.
Diagnosis & Treatment Options
What are the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse?
MVP is a common heart condition that often has no signs or symptoms.
How is mitral valve prolapse diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will examine you and listen to your heart. He or she will ask what medicines you take, and if you have other health conditions. You may also need any of the following:
- A heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart’s electrical activity.
- An echocardiogram: This is a type of ultrasound. Sound waves are used to show the structure, movement, and blood vessels of your heart.
- An angiogram: This may be done to take pictures of your blood vessels and arteries. The pictures may show narrowing or a blockage. You will be given dye to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
How is mitral valve prolapse treated?
You may not need any treatment if you do not feel any symptoms. If you do need treatment, it could include:
- Blood pressure medicine is given to lower your blood pressure. A controlled blood pressure helps protect your heart.
- Heart medicine helps your heart beat more strongly or regularly.
- Antiplatelet medicines, such as aspirin, keep platelets from sticking to a damaged part of your artery. Platelets are a part of your blood that helps heal injuries. Platelets may cause a blockage in your mitral valve and affect blood flow through your heart.
- Blood thinners keep clots from forming. Clots may cause a stroke, and can be life-threatening. This medicine makes it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. Follow all blood thinner safety instructions you receive.
- Surgery may be needed if you have severe heart damage from your MVP. Your mitral valve may need to be repaired or replaced during surgery.
How can I manage mitral valve prolapse?
- Floss and brush your teeth regularly. Tell your healthcare provider or dentist if you have MVP. Professional tooth cleaning, tooth decay, or gum problems could lead to a heart infection.
- Eat heart-healthy foods. Heart-healthy foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, chicken (without skin), lean meats, and fish. Eat two 4-ounce servings of fish high in omega-3 fats each week. Examples are salmon, fresh tuna, and herring. Ask for more information on a heart-healthy diet.
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask your healthcare provider which liquids you should drink, and how much to have each day.
- Stay active. Ask your healthcare provider which activities are best for you.
- Do not use alcohol or caffeine. These could make your MVP worse.
- Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting. Avoid being around others who smoke.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
- Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than five minutes or returns.
- Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm.
- Trouble breathing.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing.
- You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
- Numbness or drooping on one side of your face.
- Weakness in an arm or leg.
- Confusion or difficulty speaking.
- Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss.
- You have sudden trouble breathing or shortness of breath while lying down.
- Your heart pounds or flutters, or your heart rate is faster than usual.
- You cough up blood.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You have a severe headache, stiff neck, and your eyes are sensitive to light.
- You have new or increased swelling in your feet or ankles.
- You feel faint.
- You have a fever.
- You lose your appetite or are unable to eat.
- You have increased fatigue and weakness.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.