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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 2 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 MVP?

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

What signs and symptoms may I have with MVP?

  • Fatigue, anxiety, or migraines

  • Dizzy, lightheaded, or faint

  • A fast or pounding heartbeat, or heart flutters

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

How is MVP diagnosed?

Your caregiver will examine you and listen to your heart. He will ask what medicines you take, and if you have other health conditions. You may also need any of the following:

  • A heart monitor is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.

  • An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound. Sound waves are used to show the structure, movement, and blood vessels of your heart.

  • An angiogram 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 caregivers see the pictures better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

How is MVP treated?

You may not need any treatment if you do not feel any symptoms.

  • Medicines:

    • 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 MVP?

  • Floss and brush your teeth regularly. Tell your caregiver 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 caregiver which liquids you should drink, and how much to have each day.

  • Stay active. Ask your caregiver 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 caregiver for information if you need help quitting. Avoid being around others who smoke.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • You have a fever, sore throat, or body aches.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:

    • Part of your face droops or is numb

    • Weakness in an arm or leg

    • Confusion or difficulty speaking

    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss

  • You have shortness of breath or chest pain.

  • Your heart beats faster than normal for you, or skips beats.

  • You suddenly feel dizzy or faint.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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