Mitral Valve Prolapse and Chest Pain

Do you ever experience a chest pain that is not related to heart attack? It could be due to your Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) condition. The condition often occurs with common symptoms such as dizziness and shortness of breath. Mitral valve prolapse chest pain is also commonly found in adult. In fact, 8 million people in the United States have MVP.

What is actually Mitral Valve Prolapse? Is it a dangerous health issue that requires further medical treatment? Educate yourself and find more information about dangerous. Keep reading as you are about to find what MVP really is, symptoms, causes, complications, and many other important thing you need to know about this condition.

Mitral Valve Prolapse Overview

Your heart consists of four chamber with different functions. There are also some valves that control blood flow from one chamber to another, one of which is mitral valve. Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) is a condition when part of mitral valve slips backward into the left atrium.

The valve slip happens when left ventricle, the main heart muscle, squeezes during heartbeat. Despite it may cause chest pain, MVP is not considered a serious condition. It only needs to be monitored, though. Mitral Valve Prolapse is also commonly associated with other health conditions. But until today, experts are not sure what exactly causes MVP.

There are two conditions that may happen in mitral valve, mitral valve prolapse and mitral valve stenosis. Even though both disorders can cause chest pain, MVP is different with mitral valve stenosis. Mitral valve is constricted and stiff in mitral valve stenosis. While in MVP, the mitral valve slips backward because of abnormal size or damage.

Mitral valve prolapse chest pain can run in families. If you have family or relative with MVP, you have a chance to experience such condition in the future. Though the cause is still unknown, it can be triggered by abnormal condition of cartilage.

When you experience a chest pain due to mitral valve prolapse, you do not necessarily to worry that much. Most of MVP is not life threatening and it does not require intense medical treatment. Changes in lifestyle are also not required to get rid of this condition. However, some people with mitral valve prolapse also require further treatment.

Chest Pain, One of MVP Symptoms

Mitral Valve Prolapse is a lifelong disorder. It usually comes without symptoms, thus many people are surprised to know they have a specific heart condition. Some signs and symptoms may also occur, though. Chest pain, the most common symptom of mitral valve prolapse, is usually caused by the blood that is leaking backward to another chamber.

There is a wide variety when it comes to MVP signs and symptoms. One person may experience different symptoms with another. The symptoms tend to be mild but develop gradually. Signs are also common that it needs further examination to diagnose a mitral valve prolapse.

The most frequent sign of MVP is chest pain. The pain that you feel right in the chest is caused by leaking blood. It should flow to left ventricle, but certain condition of mitral valve makes it flow to another chamber called left atrium. This leak commonly cause mild chest pain.

Mitral valve prolapse chest pain may be frightening and bothersome, but it is not associated with the risk of heart attack. The symptom does not increase the risk of heart problems or death. Over years, the leak of heart can weaken the heart muscle that causes congestive heart failure. This heart disorder is commonly signed by shortness of breath and swelling in the legs.

Aside from chest pain, there are some other symptoms associated with mitral valve prolapse condition. The symptoms and signs are:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in breathing, especially during physical activity
  • Numbness in the hands and feet
  • Panic and anxiety

In some cases, these symptoms occur together. When this happens, the condition is known as Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome. Experts are not sure if MVP causes the symptoms, though. Because the symptoms are so common, they may happen to occur together.

When to see a doctor? Mitral Valve Prolapse is not a serious condition that you may continue your activity. However, you may need to consider seeing a doctor when symptoms worsen. It is quite difficult to distinguish MVP and heart attack as both of them cause chest pain. If the pain is no longer mild, it signs that you need further medical treatment.

Mitral Valve Prolapse Causes

Even until today, experts cannot mention the causes of Mitral Valve Prolapse. Instead, there is only explanation why this condition occurs. In a normal heart, the valve closes completely when the left ventricle contracts. It prevents blood from flowing back to the left atrium. 

In a heart with mitral valve prolapse, the valve flaps possess extra tissue prolapses like a parachute. Every time the heart contracts, the tissue prolapses into the left atrium. This condition prevents the valve from closing completely. Thus blood leaks backward, known as mitral valve regurgitation. The leak is suspected to cause Mitral Valve Prolapse chest pain.

MVP can develop in any person. Serious symptoms may occur in people older than 50. The heart disorder is also linked to other conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Ebstein’s anomaly, Marfan syndrome, Grave’s disease, and Scoliosis.

Mitral Valve Prolapse Complications

Most mitral valve prolapse cases are not a serious health condition. However, it may turn out into a severe heart condition when complication occurs. There are some complications commonly associated with MVP. At the time complication happens, you may need to get further medication. There are several health issues triggered by mitral valve prolapse:

Arrhythmias

Heart rhythm problems or called arrhythmias is a heart condition that commonly occurs in the upper chamber. As the name indicates, the rhythm of heart beat is irregular or racing. Though arrhythmias can be bothersome, it is not life threatening.

Mitral valve regurgitation

Regurgitation is the most common complication that follows mitral valve prolapse. This is a condition when the blood leaks and flows back into the left atrium. A male or a person who has high blood pressure has a higher risk of this complication. In a condition that the regurgitation is severe, surgery is needed. You may also need to replace the valve.

Endocarditis

Inside your heart, there is a thin membrane named endocardium. Mitral Valve Prolapse may cause an infection to this membrane. Endocarditis is caused by bacteria that can damage your mitral valve even more. To reduce the infection, you may be prescribed antibiotics.

Diagnosis and Mitral Valve Prolapse Chest Pain Treatment

To diagnose a mitral valve prolapse, a doctor needs to listen to patient’s heart using a stethoscope. A heart with mitral valve prolapse has an abnormal movement that produces a distinct sound called a click. When mitral valve prolapse is followed by mitral regurgitation, heart murmur can be heard.

A further examination can be taken to precisely diagnose mitral valve prolapse. Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) is required to determine if someone has MVP. The device shows an abnormal valve movement of a beating heart. If someone is diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, does he need any intensive treatment?

As most cases of mitral valve prolapse cause mild and less significant symptoms, specific treatment is not necessarily needed. But sometimes the chest pain can become bothersome. If you cannot bear the pain, there are some treatments that you can do. While people with congestive heart failure triggered by mitral valve prolapse may need surgery, minor MVP requires simpler treatment.

To relieve the chest pain and other symptoms caused by mitral valve prolapse, the treatment that you can do include:

  • Pain relievers
  • Exercise
  • Relaxation
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid caffeine and stimulants that cause increase in heartbeat.

Sometimes, specific medication to slow down the heart rate is also needed. The medication is called beta-blockers. This may be helpful in people with rapid heartbeat called tachycardia.

Is MVP a heart disorder that can be prevented? Unfortunately you cannot prevent Mitral Valve Prolapse. Instead you can lower down the chance of developing complications related to this condition. Make sure to take medications if needed.

To summarize, mitral valve prolapse is a heart disorder in which the valve cannot work properly. This condition may cause mild chest pain that develops gradually. As most cases of MVP are not life threatening, no intensive treatments are needed. But when Mitral Valve Prolapse chest pain becomes unbearable, you may need to see a doctor for further examination if there is complication associated with MVP.

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