What are the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse (MVP)?

Dr. Vicente E. Font, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Most people with mitral valve prolapse (MVP) have no symptoms, but when symptoms do manifest, they may include atypical chest pains, dizzy spells and some anxiety.

Most people who have mitral valve prolapse (MVP) aren't affected by the condition. This is because they don't have any symptoms or major mitral valve backflow.

Among those who do have symptoms, palpitations (strong or rapid heartbeats) are reported most often. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, dizziness, fatigue (tiredness), anxiety, migraine headaches, and chest discomfort.

MVP symptoms can vary from one person to another. They tend to be mild but can worsen over time, mainly when complications occur.

Mitral Valve Prolapse Complications
Complications of MVP are rare. When present, they're most often due to the backflow of blood through the mitral valve.

Mitral valve backflow is most common among men and people who have high blood pressure. People who have severe cases of backflow may need valve surgery to prevent complications.

Mitral valve backflow causes blood to flow backward from the left ventricle into the left atrium. Blood can even back up from the atrium into the lungs, causing shortness of breath.

The backflow of blood puts a strain on the muscles of both the atrium and the ventricle. Over time, the strain can lead to arrhythmias. Backflow also increases the risk of infective endocarditis (IE), an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and valves.

Mitral valve backflow can cause arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are problems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat.There are many types of arrhythmia. The most common arrhythmias are harmless. Others can be serious or even life threatening.

This answer from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.

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