Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a condition in which one of the heart’s valves, the mitral valve, doesn’t function properly. The mitral valve has two flaps and is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle of your heart.
In a healthy heart, the mitral valve closes completely when the heart contracts, preventing blood from flowing back into the left atrium from the left ventricle. In mitral valve prolapse, one or both of the valve flaps are “floppy” and don’t close tightly. This can cause the flaps to bulge, or prolapse, into the left atrium during the heart’s contraction.
Most people with mitral valve prolapse never have symptoms and it’s often discovered incidentally during a routine examination when a doctor hears a clicking sound or a murmur with a stethoscope. When symptoms do occur, they may include irregular heartbeat (palpitations), shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, lightheadedness or fainting. These symptoms don’t necessarily correlate with the severity of the MVP and can occur in people with seemingly mild cases.
Most of the time, MVP isn’t life-threatening and doesn’t require treatment or changes in lifestyle. Some people might need treatment if they have significant valve leakage, or regurgitation. This could involve taking medications or in severe cases, undergoing surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve.
Always consult with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.