Mitral valve prolapse

Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) occurs when the valve between your heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) and the left lower chamber (left ventricle) doesn't close properly.

During mitral valve prolapse, the leaflets of the mitral valve bulge (prolapse) upward or back into the left atrium as the heart contracts.

Mitral (MY-trul) 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.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

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
  • Fatigue
  • 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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