Mitral valve prolapse, also known as click-murmur syndrome, Barlow’s syndrome, balloon mitral valve, or floppy valve syndrome, is the bulging of one or both of the mitral valve flaps (leaflets) into the left atrium during the contraction of the heart. One or both of the flaps may not close properly, allowing the blood to leak backward (regurgitation). This regurgitation may result in a murmur (abnormal sound in the heart due to turbulent blood flow). Mitral regurgitation (backward flow of blood), if present at all, is generally mild.
It is estimated that mitral valve prolapse occurs in less than 3 percent of the population.
The cause of MVP is unknown, but is thought to be linked to heredity. Primary and secondary forms of MVP are described below.
Specific treatment for mitral valve prolapse will be determined by your physician based on:
Treatment is not usually necessary as MVP is rarely a serious condition. Regular check-ups with a physician are advised.
Persons with rhythm disturbances may need to be treated with beta blockers or other medications to control tachycardias (fast heart rhythms). In most cases, limiting stimulants such as caffeine and cigarettes is all that is needed to control symptoms.
If atrial fibrillation or severe left atrial enlargement is present, treatment with an anticoagulant may be recommended. This can be in the form of aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin®) therapy.
For the person with symptoms of dizziness or fainting, maintaining adequate hydration (fluid volume in the blood vessels) with liberal salt and fluid intake is important. Support stockings may be beneficial.
If severe mitral regurgitation resulting from a floppy mitral leaflet, rupture of the chordae tendineae, or extreme lengthening of the valve should occur, surgical repair may be indicated.