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Heart Valve Problems: Mitral Valve Prolapse

Mitral valve prolapse is a common heart valve problem. With this condition, the valve that separates the chambers of the left side of the heart doesn’t open and close properly. Extra tissue in the valve can stop it from closing properly and can make it leaky. 

Most cases of mitral valve prolapse are not serious. Usually only a small amount of blood leaks backward. This causes no problem and doesn't need treatment. But sometimes a larger amount can leak backward. This can lead to a serious problem and will require surgery to fix. 

Symptoms of Mitral Valve Prolapse

Mitral valve prolapse may not cause symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may feel one or more of the following:

  • Mild chest pain

  • Pounding or racing heart (palpitations)

  • Shortness of breath when lying down

  • Trouble breathing with activity

Possible Causes

Mitral valve prolapse is often present from birth. But in some people, it can develop later in life. In some cases, the condition is inherited (passed down from your parents).

Treating Mitral Valve Prolapse

Most people with mitral valve prolapse have mild disease that is stable and doesn't need to be treated. But sometimes the valves get more stretched out over time and can cause symptoms. Medications can help relieve symptoms. Your doctor may ask you to come in from time to time for tests to check your heart valve and to be sure the problem hasn’t gotten worse.



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