What is Mitral Valve Prolapse?
Heart murmurs are common abnormalities of the heart valves which must open
and close to control blood flow.† Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is of particular
interest to women because it is much more common in women.† There are also new
criteria for its diagnosis and management.
MVP occurs when the mitral valve leaflets don't close completely, then get
slightly pulled into the atrium of the heart.† Those with this condition are
at greater risk for infection, so they have been told to take antibiotics whenever
they have dental work or minor surgeries.† Using a relatively new imaging test
called an echocardiogram, we know that only a small percent of women with MVP
really need antibiotic prophylaxis.† If you have been diagnosed with MVP, ask
your doctor if you should have this test-and then, ask if you still need routine
Many women have the diagnosis of MVP based upon their physical exam. Most women
with MVP have no symptoms, but some feel palpitations, occasional sharp chest
pains, or a skipped heart beat.† If you have these symptoms, ask your doctor
if you should have an echocardiogram.
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Created: 1/23/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.