Mitral valve prolapse

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Mitral (MY-trahl) Valve Prolapse, or MVP (M-V-P) is a relatively common cause of systolic (sis-TALL-ik) heart murmur. In MVP, enlarged valves between the upper and lower left chambers of the heart close unevenly and collapse back into the upper atrium (AY-tree-um) chamber. Thus, the upper atrium is not able to empty its blood completely into the lower ventricle (VEN-trik-uhl) chamber during pumping. Instead, some fluid leaks back into the atrium and causes a 'murmur.' MVP has several other names: click-murmur, Barlow's (BAR-loz) syndrome, balloon mitral valve syndrome, or floppy valve syndrome. Generally, patients with MVP don't exhibit symptoms, nor do they experience difficulties related to the condition. However, a physician may detect MVP's related murmur during a normal physical examination. It may then be investigated further by an echocardiogram (ek-oh-CARD-ee-oh-gram), using a special machine to show a moving real-time image of the heart beating. Depending on the amount of blood leakage and loudness of the murmur, the condition may or may not require treatment. In any case, a person with MVP will usually be advised to take precautionary antibiotics prior to surgical or dental procedures. These procedures are sometimes associated with slight bleeding, in which case bacteria from the procedure site could potentially travel to the heart and cause infection in the leaky valve. If you're concerned about your heart, or have questions about mitral valve prolapse, contact a healthcare provider.

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