Mitral Valve Prolapse
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Mitral Valve Prolapse (rollover to compare with normal)
Left-side View of the Heart
Mitral Valve Prolapse and the Adult Patient

The symptoms associated with mitral valve prolapse may come and go over time, or they may disappear completely. There is a higher risk of stroke and the development of arrhythmias for these patients than in the general population. For these and other reasons, it is important that the person with MVP be examined regularly by a cardiologist.

The symptoms of MVP may be decreased by certain lifestyle choices. Proper body weight, diet, and exercise will help to maintain normal blood pressure. This is important as even moderate hypertension should be avoided by the individual with MVP. If heart palpitations occur, caffeine should not be taken, and the cardiologist may recommend other dietary guidelines.

The frequency of check-ups depends on the presence and severity of symptoms. In the absence of mitral valve regurgitation and the thickening of leaflets, no treatment is necessary and examination once every 5 years or so is usually considered sufficient.

If mild valve regurgitation is present, the patient should be monitored at least once every 2 or 3 years, including the use of echocardiography and electrocardiography. Also, medications to protect against infective endocarditis should be prescribed.

If the regurgitation is progressive, the patient should be monitored once a year at the least, with examination through echocardiography, electrocardiography, and x-ray. Drugs to prevent endocarditis will also be necessary for these patients.

In severe cases of mitral valve regurgitation, stress testing with a treadmill may be required, as well as 24 hour ECG (electrocardiogram) monitoring. In some cases, antiarrhythmic medications will be given and examination with TEE (transesophageal echocardiography) and/or cardiac catheterization may be necessary. If left heart overload and regurgitation become critical, then valve repair or replacement surgery may be performed.