About This Condition
The mitral valve is one of the four valves separating chambers of the heart. Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a common and occasionally serious condition in which the cusp or cusps of the mitral valve bulge into one of the heart chambers during the heart’s contraction. This bulging is caused by abnormalities in the valve’s structure. When serious, mitral valve prolapse may progress to mitral regurgitation, where the incompetent valve can no longer keep blood from leaking backwards into the wrong chamber of the heart.
Most people with MVP experience no symptoms. Some may experience difficulty breathing during exertion or when lying down, tremor, fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. Some develop dull chest pain, palpitations (awareness of the heartbeat), anxiety, and other symptoms associated with the “fight or flight” response. When MVP causes these symptoms, it is referred to as dysautonomia syndrome.
Serious cases might require surgery to repair the affected heart valve.