Font Size

Mitral Valve Prolapse

What is Mitral Valve Prolapse?

  • Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is also called click-murmur syndrome, floppy mitral valve syndrome, and Barlow syndrome after the doctor who first described MVP.
  • The mitral valve is one of 4 valves in the heart. It opens and closes to control blood flow between the heart's left atrium and the left ventricle. The mitral valve has 2 flaps, or "leaflets."
  • In mitral valve prolapse, one or both leaflets of the valve are too large, or the chordae tendinea (the strings attached to the underside of the leaflets, connected to the ventricular wall) are too long (redundant), resulting in uneven closure of the valve during each heartbeat.
    • Because of uneven closure of the leaflets, the valve bulges back, or "prolapses," into the left atrium like a parachute.
    • When this happens, a very small amount of blood may leak through, moving backward from the ventricle to the atrium.
    • The valve still works well, and the heart pumps normally. Prolapse does not cause damage to the heart over time.
  • Only 2% of people have other structural heart problems along with mitral valve prolapse.
  • Previously called the most common heart valve abnormality, mitral valve prolapse was thought to have affected a significant portion of the general population, mainly women.
  • Now with newer, more accurate echocardiographic criteria, it is thought to affect very few of the general population and it is most often diagnosed in people aged 20-40 years.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2015
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:

Must Read Articles Related to Mitral Valve Prolapse

Anxiety Anxiety as a medical condition is characterized b...learn more >>
Chest Pain
Chest Pain Overview Chest pain has a variety of noncardiac and cardiac causes, some of which can be very serious. Signs and symptoms of chest pain may include burning, squeezing, o...learn more >>
Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive Heart Failure The heart is a pump that works together with the lungs. It pumps blood in two ways. Congestive heart failure is a serious condition, but it can be managed.learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Mitral Valve Prolapse:

Mitral Valve Prolapse - Treatment

Were beta blockers effective in treating your mitral valve prolapse, or was surgery necessary?

Mitral Valve Prolapse - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your mitral valve prolapse?

Heart beat and stethoscope picture

Mitral Valve Prolapse Symptoms

What are the MVP symptoms?

You probably will not have any symptoms from mitral valve prolapse. You may not even know you have it until a doctor hears a "clicking" sound or a murmur when listening to your heart.

But some people may feel that their heart is beating too fast or "pounding." This feeling is called palpitations. Others may have brief chest pain.


Atrial Fibrillation Slideshow

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Mitral Valve Prolapse »

Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is the most common valvular abnormality, affecting approximately 2-6% of the population in the United States.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary