What Is Mitral Valve Prolapse?

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Filed Under: Valve Disease, Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/23/2014

If you have this condition but no symptoms of mitral valve prolapse, you have nothing to worry about. However, you do need to take some precautions. 

 

What Is Mitral Valve Prolapse Transcript

Dr. Sinatra: Letter from a newsletter subscriber. Dr. Sinatra: I'm 35 years old. I'm a young woman. I have mitral valve prolapse. I'm asymptomatic. Do I have anything to worry about?

Well, listen: Mitral valve prolapse is something that's really close to my own heart. Why? Because I studied with the mentor, the guy who wrote the book on mitral valve prolapse in the 1970s. So in our clinic we had 300 cases of women and some men with mitral valve prolapse, so this is something I followed for a number of years in my cardiovascular fellowship.

Asymptomac With Mitral Valve Prolapse

Let me tell you this: If you're asymptomatic with mitral valve prolapse—and most people are, they don't even know they have it—it's really nothing to worry about. There's only about 1 percent of people with mitral valve prolapse who if they have a leakage of the mitral valve and if the leakage is substantial and they had developed symptoms, such as shortness of breath or atypical chest pain or lightheadedness or dizziness or palpitations, these are the people that I get concerned about. These are the people that in my office I would see once every year or once every couple of years, do an echocardiogram, follow the left atrial size, reassess the possibility of increasing mitral regurgitation, and then take measures.

How Mitral Valve Prolapse Is Detected

For example, if you're 35 years old and you have a substantial leak to the mitral valve and you still feel fine and you don't know it, you still have to use prophylaxis when you get your teeth worked on. We call that "SBE prophylaxis." So, in these situations, it's good to work with your doctor, but be rest assured, if you're feeling good and you have mitral valve prolapse, chances are you're going to be fine. Most mitral valve prolapse cases aren't picked up by people coming into a doctor's office, they're picked up on an echocardiogram when they're told they have mitral valve prolapse.

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