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Mitral Valve Prolapse (cont.)

What causes mitral valve prolapse?

For most people, the cause for mitral valve prolapse is unknown.

  • Some people may inherit the condition, especially those associated with connective tissue disorders like Marfan's syndrome. Marfan's syndrome is an inherited disorder of connective tissue that causes abnormally long limbs, loose joints, and bulges (aneurysms) in the aorta, the main artery from the heart.
  • Many people with mitral valve prolapse people have dysautonomia, an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system. This is the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary body functions such as breathing and the beating of the heart. This may lead to a large number of symptoms that seem serious to the person with the symptoms but are usually not serious (that is, they are not heart conditions).

When to seek medical care for mitral valve prolapse

  • Call a health-care professional if symptoms persist or are recurrent, such as chest pains that come and go, palpitations, or light-headedness.
  • Once mitral valve prolapse has been diagnosed, call the health-care professional if symptoms worsen or do not go away or if symptoms of congestive heart failure such as leg swelling or shortness of breath occur. This means the mitral valve is seriously leaking backward into the left atrium (mitral insufficiency).
  • People who have heart murmurs should consult a health-care professional regarding use of antibiotics to prevent heart valve infection during minor surgical procedures or dental work.
  • Women who think they are pregnant must call their health-care professionals.
  • Go to a hospital emergency department if any of the following occur:
    • Symptoms of heart failure suddenly worsen.
    • Symptoms include evidence of a heart rhythm disorder, such as dizziness, blackout, or fainting spell, or a continuing and uncomfortable feeling that the heart is fluttering or racing.
    • Chest pain does not go away.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/6/2016
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Mitral Valve Prolapse »

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

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