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Mitral Valve Prolapse

In mitral valve disease, the mitral valve may not be closing properly, which causes blood to leak backward to the left atrium (regurgitation), the valve may be narrowed (stenosis), or the valve’s flaps may be too floppy and bulge outward (prolapse).

Mitral valve prolapse occurs when the flaps (leaflets) of the heart's mitral valve bulge (prolapse) like a parachute into the heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) as the heart contracts. In most people, mitral valve prolapse isn't life-threatening and doesn't usually require treatment or changes in lifestyle but it does require monitoring.

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Mitral Valve Disease Mitral valve prolapse

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Causes of Mitral Valve Prolapse

The most common cause of mitral valve prolapse is abnormally stretchy valve leaflets. However, other conditions, traits or habits may also raise your risk for the condition. These are known as risk factors and include:

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors: These factors are irreversible and cannot be changed. The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing mitral valve prolapse.

  • Older age
  • Family history/Genetics

Other conditions that contribute to the development of mitral valve prolapse:

Symptoms of Mitral Valve Prolapse

Some people with mitral valve prolapse might not experience symptoms for many years. But when symptoms do appear, they may include:

Diagnosis of Mitral Valve Prolapse

To diagnose mitral valve prolapse, your doctor may review your signs and symptoms, discuss your and your family's medical history, and conduct a physical examination. Your doctor may listen to your heart with a stethoscope to determine if you have a heart murmur that may indicate a mitral valve condition. Your doctor may also order several tests to diagnose your condition and determine the cause and severity of your condition, including:

Treatment of Mitral Valve Prolapse

Treatment of mitral valve prolapse depends on the severity of your condition, whether you're experiencing signs and symptoms, and if your condition is getting worse. If your symptoms are mild or you aren't experiencing symptoms, your doctor may monitor your condition with regular follow-up appointments. Other treatment options include:

Lifestyle Changes

All patients with heart valve disease should talk to their doctor about the managed risk of getting infective endocarditis. This infection can greatly damage or destroy the heart valves, and can be fatal. Recommended changes include:

  • Call your doctor if you have symptoms of an infection.
  • Take antibiotics before any dental procedures, surgeries, or invasive tests.
  • Take good care of your teeth and gums.
  • Tell your doctor and dentist that you have heart valve disease.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  • Exercise under the directions of your doctor.
  • If you're overweight, talk to your doctor about weight-loss options.
  • Manage stress.
  • Make and keep appointments to see your doctor for routine check-ups and follow-up tests.


  • Antiarrhythmic medications will help control your heart’s rhythm.
  • Anticoagulants “blood-thinners” will help treat, prevent, and reduce blood clots.
  • Beta blockers will help reduce your blood pressure.
  • Diuretics “water pills” will help reduce the amount of fluid retention in your body.

Medical and Surgical Procedures

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Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center
94 Old Short Hills Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-5000
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
Jersey City Medical Center
355 Grand Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 915-2000
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 828-3000

Mitral Valve Prolapse Treatment & Care

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