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Mitral Valve Prolapse

Mitral valve prolapse occurs when the mitral valve, which controls blood flow in the left side of the heart, doesn't close tightly. This happens when the flaps that normally open and close the valve aren't working well.

The majority of people who have mitral valve prolapse are born with it. The condition often runs in families.

Mitral valve prolapse: what you should know

  • Mitral valve prolapse usually doesn’t cause any problems. Most people are able to live normal lives. But those with mitral valve prolapse have a higher risk of developing endocarditis, an infection of the heart's inner lining.
  • Rarely, a backflow of blood (regurgitation) occurs when blood leaks the wrong way through the mitral valve back to the upper chamber of the heart (left atrium). Symptoms of regurgitation include the following:

Care for mitral valve prolapse at Rush

Heart specialists at Rush diagnose mitral valve prolapse with a test called echocardiography, which makes diagnosis more precise than it was in the past. Physicians use the test to detect mitral valve prolapse and identify regurgitation.

If your mitral valve prolapse is troublesome, specialists at Rush will create a personalized treatment plan, which may include medication, a procedure or both.

  • The following medications may be used:
    • Vasodilators, a class of medications that reduce the stress on your heart
    • Medications to regulate heart rhythms
  • If repair of your leaking valve is necessary, interventional cardiologists at Rush are leaders in a technique that involves placing a small clip on the mitral valve to reduce the amount of valve leakage
  • If surgical repair is necessary, Rush has cardiovascular surgeons who are leaders in the technique of mitral valve repair

Why choose Rush for mitral valve prolapse care

  • The Rush Center for Adult Structural Heart Disease offers the most advanced diagnostic and treatment services available for patients with valve disease, including mitral valve prolapse. Specialists at the clinic are leaders in clinical trials, so they are able to offer patients innovative new treatments before they are widely available.

Departments and programs that treat this condition