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Mitral Valve Prolapse

Definition

It is a ballooning of the support structure, of the mitral heart valve,into the left upper collection chamber of the heart. (MVP) is a condition in which some portion of the mitral valve is pushed back into the left atrium during a ventricular contraction. The prolapsed portion of the valve causes a clicking sound during the ventricular contraction, which is followed by a systolic murmur as the blood is regurgitated back though the mitral valve into the left atrium. An electrocardiography can show the mitral valve when it prolapses into the left atrium, which is known as click-murmur syndrome or the Barlow syndrome. This condition of MVP is found in people of all ages, and is most common in women. The few women who are susceptible to this condition of MVP, usually experience chest pain, dyspnea,palpitations,fatigue, and sometimes syncope. After an electrocardiography studies which show some premature ventricular contractions, unlike those who have coronary heart disease, these do not indicate injury to the heart.

Description

There other names of MVP include floppy valve and Barlow's syndrome. The mitral valve which is located on the left side of the heart between the top chamber(left atrium), and the bottom chamber(left ventricle). According to the heartbeat and the pressure that is exerted upon it from the blood in both chambers. To help the valve to open and close,it has supporting structures which attaches to the heart muscle. If the structures weaken or lengthen abnormally,the valve may balloon into the left atrium,this can sometimes cause the mitral valve to leak with blood , this condition may be inherited and occurs in approximately 10% of the population. It affects more women than men and often peaks after the age of 40.

Causes and symptoms

MVP may occur due to rheumatic heart disease but is usually found in healthy people. Changes that occur in the valve are caused by rapid multiplication of cells in the middle layer that presses on the outer layer. The outer layer weakens, causing a prolapse of the valve toward the left atrium. Most persons do not have symptoms. Those that do may experience sharp, left-sided chest pain. Some complain of fatigue, or a pounding feeling in the chest. Others can have an irregular heart beat and even pass out. Some persons may experience difficulty breathing, ankle swelling and fluid in the lungs. Other symptoms may include anxiety, headaches, morning tiredness and constantly cold hands and feet. Death from this condition is rare.

Diagnosis

The basis of a diagnosis, is on the symptoms and physical exam. During the exam, the physician may hear a click or a heart murmur with the help of a stethoscope. This best test related to the diagnosis of MVP is an echo- cardiogram, which reflects sound waves through the chest wall, to give two-dimensional colour flow pictures of the heart,its size position, motion, chambers and valves. A person with symptoms or family history of MVP should consider having an echo cardiogram done. The test only up to 15-20 minutes, and it is conducted in the doctor's office at the hospital. This test is carried out by trained technicians, and read by the cardiologists. This can be treated by a physician internist's cardiologist and nurse who is a practitioner. Depending on the intensity of the valve leakage an echo-cardiogram is done periodically.

Treatment

Certain medication which is prescribed by the cardiologist can help, MVP. Which is,Propranolol (Inderal) or other beta blockers or digoxin (Lanoxin). People who suffer from severe symptoms of MVP a leak of the mitral valve, would require repair or replacement of the mitral valve with an artificial heart valve. People who suffer from MVP, should protect themselves from heart or heart infections. Antibiotics need to be taken before an surgical dental or oral procedures. The other treatments, include, drinking a lot of fluids during strenuous activity, and hot weather. If you consume water pills,caffeine , donating blood may aggravate the symptoms of MVP.

Prognosis

MVP, may not be a serious problem, however if not treated ,it can be considered as an irregular heartbeat, and can result in sudden death.