Although mitral valve prolapse is a lifelong disorder, many people with this condition never have symptoms. When diagnosed, people may be surprised to learn that they have a heart condition.
When signs and symptoms do occur, it's typically because blood is leaking backward through the valve (regurgitation). Mitral valve prolapse symptoms can vary widely from one person to another. They tend to be mild, develop gradually and may include:
- A racing or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, often when lying flat or during physical activity
- Chest pain that's not caused by a heart attack or coronary artery disease
When to see a doctor
If you think you have any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. Many other conditions cause the same symptoms as mitral valve prolapse, so only a visit to your doctor can determine the cause of your symptoms. If you're having chest pain and you're unsure if it could be a heart attack, seek emergency medical care immediately.
If you've already been diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, see your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
Apr. 21, 2011
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- Taub CC, et al. Mitral valve prolapse in Marfan syndrome: An old topic revisited. Echocardiography. 2008;e[#]. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121536695/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0. Accessed Jan. 28, 2011.
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