CHD Awareness Week 2012: MVP

Mitral Valve Proplaspe is commonly referred to as MVP. The mitral valve has two different flaps which open and shut to let blood flow through from the atrium to the ventricle. MVP occurs when one or both of the flaps is enlarged and instead of opening and closing cleanly, one or both of the flaps collapse or bulge into the atrium and sometimes allow blood to flow backwards into it. This results in a distinctive "clicking" sound that can be heard when listening to the heart.

MVP is very common in its mildest form, and requires minimal medical attention. In the most severe form, it can lead to heart failure and require surgical repair or replacement of the mitral valve. MVP cam also lead to a condition known as mitral regurgitation. This means a blood is leaking back through the defective valve instead of continuing in the normal direction. Mitral regurgitation can result in thickening of the heart wall since the heart is having to pump more to compensate for the backflow of blood. Mitral regurgitation can cause fatigue or shortness of breath.

Regurgitation and prolapse can usually be treated with medication, but some people require surgery to repair or even replace the defective valve.

To determine that you have MVP, a cardiologist will review your medical history, request an electrocardiogram & echocardiogram, and possibly have you wear a heart monitor for a certain period of time. They might also order a CT or MRI scan of the chest and/or a chest x-ray.

MVP only affects roughly 2% to 3% of the population and the cause is unknown. (These figures vary on different websites because in the past this condition has been greatly over-diagnosed.) Some doctors say it occurs more often in women than men, while others say just as many men get it as women. The condition may be inherited - if a person has MVP, it's very likely that 30% of their close relatives also have it.

An abnormal mitral valve increases your chance of getting endocarditis from bacteria, which can further damage the mitral valve. However, this is very rare. Doctors used to recommend that people with mitral valve prolapse take antibiotics before dental procedures to protect against endocarditis but that has changed. The American Heart Association has now said that antibiotics aren't necessary in most cases for someone suffering from MVP.

Some people who have MVP also suffer from what is called "Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome" or in other cases, Dysautonomia. Dysautonomia is an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system, or ANS. The symptoms for MVPS or Dysautonomia are similar and vary from person to person but can include: excessive fatigue, excessive thirst, lightheadedness, dizziness or vertigo, shortness of breath, migraines, feelings of anxiety or panic attacks that are not mentally induced, nausea and chest pain. (There is varied information about this subject out there as well, with many doctors disagreeing that MVP and MVPS/D are even related but I - along with many other people - believe that they are.)

Facts From These Websites:
The Mayo Clinic - Mitral Valve Prolapse
Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia
The Society for Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome/Dysautonomia
The Autonomic Disorders/MVP Center
MVP on Heart Health Center
Kids Health - Picture Source

*I have Mitral Valve Prolapse, regurgitation and Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome.

This is one in a series of posts on heart awareness:
~ CHD Awareness Week 2010 and more of my story
~ CHD Awareness Week 2012
~ CHD Awareness Week 2012: CHD Facts
~ CHD Awareness Week 2012: MVP *you're currently reading this one!

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