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Mitral valve prolapse

  • Alternative Names

    Barlow syndrome; Floppy mitral valve; Myxomatous mitral valve; Billowing mitral valve; Systolic click-murmur syndrome; Prolapsing mitral leaflet syndrome


    Most of the time, there are no (or few) symptoms, and treatment is not needed.

    If you have severe mitral valve prolapse, you may need to stay in the hospital. You may need surgery to repair or replace the valve if you have severe mitral regurgitation or your symptoms get worse. Mitral valve replacement may be needed if:

    • You have symptoms
    • The left ventricle of the heart is enlarged
    • Heart function gets worse (depressed ejection fraction)

    In the past, some people with mitral valve prolapse were given antibiotics before certain dental or surgical procedures to help prevent an infection called bacterial endocarditis (BE). However, the American Heart Association no longer recommends routine antibiotics before dental procedures or other surgical procedures for patients with only mitral valve prolapse, unless they have had bacterial endocarditis in the past.

    Other drugs that may be prescribed when mitral regurgitation or other heart problems are also present:

    • Anti-arrhythmic drugs help control irregular heartbeats.
    • Water pills (diuretics) help remove excess fluid in the lungs.
    • Propranolol is given for palpitations or chest pain.
    • Blood thinners (anticoagulants) help prevent blood clots in people who also have atrial fibrillation.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Mitral valve prolapse should not negatively affect your lifestyle. If the leaky valve becomes severe, your outlook may be similar to that of people who have mitral regurgitation from any other cause.

    Most of the time, the condition is harmless and does not cause symptoms. Symptoms that do occur can be treated and controlled with medicine or surgery. However, some irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) associated with mitral valve prolapse can be life-threatening.

    • Endocarditis -- valve infection
    • Severe leaky mitral valve (regurgitation)
    • Stroke
    • Clots to other areas
    • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), including atrial fibrillation

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you have:

    • Chest discomfort, palpitations, or fainting spells that get worse
    • Long-term illnesses with fevers