Mitral Valve Prolapse

What is Mitral Valve Prolapse?

Mitral valve prolapse is a disorder of the heart, in which the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle of your heart do not close properly. The upper left chamber is called atrium and the lower left chamber is called ventricle. Your mitral valve consists of two triangular-shaped flaps of tissue called leaflets. The leaflets of the mitral valve connect to the heart muscle through a ring called the annulus. If you have mitral valve prolapse, the leaflets of your mitral valve bulge back into the atrium or upward, when the heart contracts. Sometimes, this leads to leakage of blood into atrium. This is called mitral valve regurgitation, where the oxygenated and deoxygenated bloods get mixed before circulation to the body.

Usually, mitral valve prolapse might not require treatments or changes in lifestyle, if only a small amount of blood gets leaked into the atrium. It might not always be life threatening. However, some people might need treatment.


In most cases, mitral valve prolapse is a lifelong disorder and might not display symptoms. When symptoms occur, it might be owing to mitral valve regurgitation, or blood leaking backward. The signs may vary and develop over a long period of time. They could be:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Arrhythmia or irregular rhythm of the heart
  • Shortness of breath, during physical activities or when lying flat
  • Angina or chest pain, that is not due to other heart diseases
  • Fatigue


Mitral valve prolapse is relatively rare and is known to occur only in two percent of the population. Generally, the cause of mitral valve prolapse is the valve leaflets being abnormally stretchy. This is known as myxomatous valve disease. This could either be a genetic disorder or could be caused due to other health problems, like diseases in the connective tissues of the body.


You are likely to contact Mitral valve prolapse if you are a man above fifty years of age, with conditions such as:

  •  Marfan syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Ebstein's anomaly
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Graves' disease
  • Scoliosis


Prevention is not possible for Mitral valve prolapse, although it can be treated if diagnosed on time.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, your specialist may employ the following diagnostic tools for mitral valve prolapse:


How is it treated?

If you do not have symptoms, you might not require treatment. In case you have mitral valve regurgitation but without symptoms, your doctor at Medanta might advise you to have regular follow-up examinations for monitoring your condition. However, ..

  • Pharmacotherapy

    Medication to resolve certain issues related to mitral valve prolapse, like chest pain, arrhythmia etc. may be administered. Some of these are:

    • Beta blockers – Beta blockers are used to prevent irregularity in heartbeats and excessive pressure on the heart, thereby reducing blood pressure
    • Heart rhythm medication – To control the rhythm of your heartbeats
    • Diuretics – These water pills are used to drain water from lungs
    • Aspirin – This is used to decrease the risk of blood clots
    • Anticoagulants – These pills are used to thin the blood and prevent clotting of blood

  • Surgical therapy

    If the regurgitation of the prolapse is severe, your cardiologist might recommend a surgery. This is because the regurgitation might eventually lead to heart failure, because of decreased efficiency of pumping. Using surgery, your mitral valve may be repaired or replaced. It might be done using open-heart surgery or methods that involve smaller incisions and lesser loss of blood, along with quicker recovery time. Using a technique called valvuloplasty, the surgeon modifies the original valve to eliminate backward blood flow. Using another technique called annuloplasty, the annulus is tightened or repaired. If repairing the existing valve is not an option, it would be replaced by a prosthetic or artificial valve, that is mechanical or tissue based. Although mechanical valves last a long time, you would have to take blood thinning medication along with it, to prevent formation of clots. Tissue valves are of animal origin, usually pig or cow. These might get worn out and might need replacement. However in this method, anticoagulative medication is not required.

When do I contact the doctor?

Consult a cardiologist immediately if you have symptoms such as fatigue, arrhythmia, dizziness, chest pain and shortness of breath.

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