Mitral Valve prolapse may be one of the most commonly mentioned heart diseases in news reports, in addition to myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease. What are the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse? How should it be treated? What risk factors cause mitral valve prolapse, and how can it be prevented early?
What is mitral valve prolapse?
Before understanding what prolapse is, we must first understand the function of the valve. There are 4 valves in the heart, and the mitral valve plays the role of a valve that “controls the flow of blood.” When the heart contracts, the valve closes to prevent blood from flowing backwards. When the heart relaxes, the valve opens to allow blood to flow in. In the heart, if the leaflets of the mitral valve bulge toward the left atrium when it closes, it is called mitral valve prolapse. If the mitral valve has a gap due to this, it is called “insufficiency” and there is no closed mitral valve. The valve causes blood to leak, and when the left ventricle contracts, blood flows backwards into the atrium.
There are 2 types of mitral valve prolapse
We can divide the causes of mitral valve prolapse into the following 2 types:
- Primary mitral valve prolapse: It is the most common type of heart valve abnormality. Due to myxomatous degeneration of the valve leaflets, the collagen structure of the valve or chordae changes, causing thickening and degeneration. Large, flaccid and fibrotic.
- Secondary mitral valve prolapse: including congenital heart disease, hereditary connective tissue diseases, such as Marfan syndrome, or acquired myocardial infarction and heart infection, causing mitral valve prolapse.
7 major symptoms of mitral valve prolapse
Although most patients do not suffer from mitral valve prolapse, as their physiological functions age and deteriorate, the prolapse will worsen, leading to insufficiency. At this time, the patient may experience the following symptoms:
- Chest pain treatment methods
- Difficulty or shortness of breath (most likely when exercising or lying down)
When should you seek medical attention for mitral valve prolapse?
Symptoms of mitral valve prolapse may overlap with other symptoms of heart disease. If you think you meet any of the above symptoms, you should see a doctor for further diagnosis, treatment and analysis, especially if you are known to have mitral valve prolapse. Special attention should be paid.
In addition, chest pain caused by mitral valve prolapse is more of a recurring type and is still different from the pain caused by coronary heart disease or myocardial infarction. To be on the safe side, when you feel obvious chest pain, you should seek medical attention immediately to find out the cause of the chest pain.
Three major complications of mitral valve prolapse
- Mitral valve insufficiency (reflux): This is the most common complication of prolapse. The patient’s valve cannot seal tightly, causing blood to flow backward. Severe reflux may lead to cardiac enlargement, blood clots, or risk of heart infection.
- Infective endocarditis
7 major causes of mitral valve prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse can occur at any age, and women are twice as likely to develop the disease than men. However, men over 50 have a higher chance of developing severe prolapse symptoms. The causes of mitral valve prolapse can be summarized as the following 7 points:
- Women: Mitral valve prolapse is more likely to occur in women who are slender and have abnormal chest shapes.
- Connective tissue diseases: Marfan Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (also known as pine bark syndrome, rubber man syndrome),
- Congenital heart disease: Atrial Septal Defect, endocardial cushion defect
- Acquired heart disease: infective endocarditis, myocardial infarction, ischemic heart disease, myocarditis, rheumatic heart disease
- Graves’ disease
- Muscular dystrophy
Diagnostic approach to mitral valve prolapse
Generally speaking, auscultation is the most preferred and simple way to determine whether a patient has mitral valve prolapse. The doctor uses the stethoscope to hear the patient’s prolapsed valve producing a clicking sound when it closes. If the patient has mitral valve insufficiency, the doctor may also hear a (heart) murmur caused by blood reflux. If further testing is required, the following three methods are mainly used:
Doctors may use Doppler ultrasound (commonly known as color ultrasound) or transesophageal echocardiography to obtain more detailed and precise imaging to understand the valve leaflets, valve annulus and chordae tendineae. status.
If the patient has symptoms of arrhythmia, it can be discovered through electrocardiography.
- Myocardial Perfusion Scan:
If the patient has chest pain, this method can check for coronary heart disease.
Will mitral valve prolapse be cured? Treatment methods for mitral valve prolapse
Most asymptomatic patients with mitral valve prolapse do not require treatment. If the patient has mild atresia, he or she may need to return for regular follow-up visits to monitor for worsening. However, if the patient experiences obvious discomfort, is found to have severe insufficiency, or has complications, the following methods may be used for treatment:
- Beta-blocker (β-Blocker):
When the patient’s heart rate is too fast and tachycardia occurs, this drug can reduce blood pressure and heart rate.
Can prevent thrombosis. Doctors may give this drug to people who are at risk for stroke, heart failure, or atrial fibrillation.
Used in patients with pulmonary edema and limb edema.
If the patient’s mitral valve prolapse and insufficiency are too severe, the doctor may consider surgery. In principle, doctors will prioritize valve repair rather than replacement of artificial valves. If you want to replace an artificial valve, there are two options: biological and mechanical. The following are possible surgical methods:
- Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair
- Traditional surgery (open heart surgery)
- Minimally invasive surgery
4 key points to prevent the worsening of mitral valve prolapse
Many causes of mitral valve prolapse are caused by genetics. All patients can do is to maintain a good lifestyle as much as possible to avoid acquired factors that worsen mitral valve prolapse. Here are 4 suggestions for patients with mitral valve prolapse:
- Pay attention to oral hygiene:
Be careful of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Oral bacteria may enter the bloodstream, invade the heart, adhere to the patient’s mitral valve and produce vegetations, causing further heart infections.
- Stay away from tobacco and alcohol and exercise more:
Since mitral valve prolapse is closely related to coronary heart disease, when you suffer from coronary heart disease, it is likely to cause myocardial infarction and damage your heart muscle and valves. Therefore, it is recommended that patients should quit smoking and alcohol, sit less, and exercise more. And avoid high-cholesterol foods to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Avoid stimulating foods:
Patients should avoid stimulating foods such as spicy and caffeinated foods to avoid stress on the heart.
- Regular examinations:
Asymptomatic patients are recommended to undergo ultrasound examinations every 3 to 5 years. Others should follow the doctor’s recommendations for regular follow-up examinations.