Heart Disease : Mitral Valve Prolapse : Causes & Diagnosis

Causes
The cause is unknown in most of the cases. Genetically determined collagen disorder is suggested as the cause in some of the cases. Some of the conditions often associated with Mitral Valve Prolapse ( MVP) are:

  • Marfan syndrome
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta
  • Ehler-Danlos syndrome
  • Thoracic skeletal deformities (includes straight back syndrome)

Rarely MVP arises following conditions like rheumatic fever and diseases of the heart such as ischemic heart disease and cardiomyopathy.

Diagnosis
A detailed history is elicited; a physical examination is performed. Using a stethoscope the doctor may listen to clicking sounds or a murmur from the heart.

(1) Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram is confirmatory of the diagnosis of mitral valve prolapse (MVP). It is a non-invasive ultrasound evaluation

(2) Chest X-ray

(3) Electrocardiogram (ECG)

(4) Stress test: A stress test, usually a treadmill exercise test may be ordered for.

(5) Cardiac catheterization and coronary angiograms may be performed to decide if a surgery is required.

Complications
Middle-aged or older adults may suffer complications due to MVP. Complications include:

( a) The most common complication is Mitral valve regurgitation. In this condition leakage of blood occurs through the valve.

(b) Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias): People may get irregular heartbeats. But these are not life-threatening.

(c ) Heart valve infection (endocarditis): The inside of the heart has an inner lining called endocardium. This lining can get infected by bacteria in people with abnormal heart valves.

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