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Mitral Valve Prolapse

Mitral Valve Prolapse Overview

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 7/24/2014
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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 »


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