Mitral Valve Prolapse

The mitral valve is one of 4 valves in your heart. They open and close to control the flow of blood into and out of the heart. The mitral valve connects the left atrium to the left ventricle. Mitral valve prolapse means that the mitral valve is loose or floppy. This is often an inherited condition. It can also occur in the setting of other cardiac disease.

Most cases of mitral valve prolapse don’t cause any harm and have no symptoms. In other cases, symptoms may include:

  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat

  • Chest pains

  • Dizziness

  • Fainting spells

  • Shortness of breath

Some people with mitral valve prolapse may have panic attacks, anxiety, or severe tiredness (fatigue). More serious symptoms are uncommon.

Home care

Benign cases of mitral valve prolapse don’t need any special treatment or limits on activity.

If your healthcare provider is able to hear a “click-murmur” in your heart:

  • Brush and floss your teeth regularly. This will keep your gums and teeth healthy. It will lower your risk for heart valve infection.

  • Tell your dentist or surgeon before you have any procedure done. Antibiotics are no longer needed before dental procedures for people with benign (harmless) mitral valve prolapse.

General care

Limit how much caffeine, alcohol, and stimulants you use if you have fainting spells or pounding heartbeat (palpitations) that aren’t controlled with medicine. Also don't do any strenuous activity in this case.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. You may need more tests. You should have a checkup every 2 to 3 years so your provider can look at how your valve is working.

Call 911

Call 911 if any of the following occur:

  • Chest pain that’s new

  • Chest pain that gets worse or doesn’t go away with rest

  • Moderate or severe shortness of breath

  • Fluttering, racing, or pounding heartbeat (palpitations) that lasts longer than 5 minutes, or is linked to other symptoms noted here

  • Fainting, severe or persistent dizzy spells or lightheadedness

  • Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, or on 1 side of the face

  • Trouble speaking or seeing 

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Ankle swelling or mild shortness of breath

  • Mild fluttering, racing, or pounding heartbeat (palpitations) that doesn't last longer than 5 minutes and isn't linked to other symptoms

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