What is Mitral Valve Prolapse?
Barlow’s syndrome or the click murmur syndrome is another term that is used to refer to mitral valve prolapse problem, which is the most known abnormality involving the defective heart valves. The condition is more frequently observed among women than men.
There are four valves of the heart and one of it is the mitral valve. Chordae are set of strings that attach an ordinary mitral valve that has two thin leaflets in between the left ventricle and left atrium of the heart. The valve which is located between the left ventricle and left atrium does not close correctly among patients who are diagnosed to have mitral valve prolapse.
During the occurrence of mitral valve prolapse, the parachute-like leaflets surge upward or back into the left upper chamber as the heart contracts. The valve usually slips backward because of the anomalous damage to the mitral valve tissues.
About one in every 100-200 people have mitral valve prolapse. Sporadically, mitral valve prolapse leads to the leaking of the blood backwards into the left upper chamber, which is another condition called mitral valve regurgitation.
What Causes MVP?
When the heart is correctly working, the mitral valve totally closes when the left ventricle contracts and stops the blood from returning back into the left atrium.
For people who has the condition, one or both of the mitral valve leaflets prolapses into the upper left chamber with every single contraction of the heart. The prolapsing might prevent the valve from closing firmly.
There are no problems arising if only a little amount of blood flows back into the atrium. The existence of mitral valve prolapse is noted among family members, but for majority of the individuals with mitral valve prolapse, the specific cause is not yet known until today.
What are Signs and Symptoms of MVP?
Most people who have mitral valve prolapse had never had any symptoms even if the condition is a lifelong disorder. They also do not have any past experiences concerning mitral valve prolapse but upon the diagnosis, most of them will be surprised for they have the heart condition.
The occurrence of the signs and symptoms is due to the leaking of the blood through the blood vessel in a backward manner. Those people who experience symptoms vary from one another. Some may slowly develop mild manifestations. Symptoms can be:
- Pain in the chest
- Having an irregular or a very fast heartbeat
- Numbness of the feet and hands
- Shortness of breath or having a hard time breathing while engaging in some exercise or when lying flat
If some symptoms occur all at once or if a heart attack happens and is still unsure whether it is caused by mitral heart prolapse, visit a physician for proper diagnosis and immediate medical care.
How to Treat Mitral Valve Prolapse?
Majority of the individuals with mitral valve prolapse does not require any lifestyle changes or treatments because they have a great prognosis since the condition is not life-threatening. Nevertheless, some people still need treatment. As long as there is no mitral regurgitation present on the echocardiogram, the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse is infrequently rare.
If this is the case, the physician will recommend to the patient for follow-up examinations in order for the condition to be monitored on how severe it is. If there is blood leaking through the mitral valve or if the patient experiences some symptoms, there are some treatments that the physician will propose. It may differ for each individual and these may include:
- Heart rhythm medications – physicians prescribe these in order to control the rhythm of the heart.
- Beta blockers – helps the blood vessels open up and loosen for the improvement of blood flow and it also stops irregular heartbeats to reduce blood pressure.
- Aspirin – risk reduction of blood clots.
- Diuretics – water pills that will help drain the fluid from the lungs.
- Prescription anticoagulants – stop the clotting of the blood if irregular heart rhythms had been present like atrial fibrillation.
- Antibiotics – seldom recommended by physicians before any procedures.
- Daily exercises
- Avoid caffeine or any other stimulants
- Relaxation techniques that can help reduce stress
- Pain relievers
Mitral Valve Prolapse Surgery
Even though most people who have this condition don’t need surgery, there are still a number of individuals who had developed serious mitral regurgitation because of mitral valve prolapse. Physicians suggest a surgical treatment whether the symptoms are present or not.
For people who have the symptoms of congestive heart failure due to regurgitation, the best treatment is usually surgery. Critical mitral valve regurgitation causes heart failure after some time, preventing the heart from pumping blood normally and effectively.
If it goes on for too long, the heart might weaken and may become fragile for surgery. The benefit from the surgery is to replace or repair the leaky valve. Valve replacement and repair is performed by opening the heart or minimally do invasive surgery. The more minimal the surgery is with smaller incisions; less blood is lost and has a greater chance of a quicker recovery. The procedures are as follows:
- Valve repair – This is a preferred surgical treatment to fix the condition.
- Valve replacement – The damaged valve is replaced by a prosthetic valve that are tissue or mechanical valves.
Is Mitral Valve Prolapse Hereditary?
There is a great chance that mitral valve prolapse can be hereditary even though the precise cause is still unknown. Somehow, the family members that are affected are commonly thin, tall, has straight backs, and with long fingers and arms.
- Hayek E, Gring CN, Griffin BP (2005). “Mitral valve prolapse”. Lancet 365 (9458): 507–18.
- Ahmed, Mustafa I.; Sanagala, Thriveni; Denney, Thomas; Inusah, Seidu; McGiffin, David; Knowlan, Donald; O’Rourke, Robert A.; Dell’Italia, Louis J. (August 2009). “Mitral Valve Prolapse With a Late-Systolic Regurgitant Murmur May Be Associated With Significant Hemodynamic Consequences”. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences 338 (2): 113–115.
- Terechtchenko L, Doronina SA, Pochinok EM, Riftine A. (2003). “Autonomic tone in patients with supraventricular arrhythmia associated with mitral valve prolapse in young men”. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 26 (1 Pt 2): 444–6.