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Mitral Valve Prolapse (Part 1)

mitral valve prolapse

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Many kids and grown-ups have something called mitral valve prolapse (say: my-trul valv pro-laps). For most people, it"s a heart problem that isn"t much to worry about.

What Is the Mitral Valve?

The mitral valve is part of the heart. Remember how the heart works?

• A normal heart has four chambers, two atria (say: ay-tree-uh) and two ventricles (say: ven-trih-kulz). Each side of the heart has an atrium and a ventricle.

• Blood comes from all over the body into the heart"s right atrium.

• From there it goes to the right ventricle. The right ventricle pumps the blood to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen.

• Next, the blood returns from the lungs to the heart"s left atrium.

• From the left atrium it goes into the left ventricle, which pumps the blood out to the body so the body can use the oxygen in the blood.

The mitral valve is between the heart"s left atrium and left ventricle. It has two flaps that open and close together like a pair of swinging doors.

When the heart beats, the left ventricle pumps blood out to the body and the flaps swing shut. This keeps the blood in the ventricle from going back into the left atrium.

What Is Mitral Valve Prolapse?

In someone who has mitral valve prolapse (MVP), one or both of the valve"s flaps buckle up (or swing upward) slightly into the atrium as they close. Sometimes these flaps still close completely. In some other kids, they may not shut properly. When the flaps don"t close correctly, blood can leak back into the left atrium. This can happen because the flaps are too floppy or too big or have the wrong shape.

Usually MVP doesn"t cause any problems. Almost all kids who have it lead totally normal lives. Lots of times people don"t even know they have it or don"t find out until they"re adults. It"s not discovered in kids very much. Sometimes people are born with MVP, or it can develop during a person"s life. Doctors often don"t know why someone has MVP.

Signs and Symptoms

Many kids with MVP have no symptoms. In some kids, the flaps of the mitral valve make a clicking sound when they close. A doctor may hear this when listening to the heart with a stethoscope. Someone who has MVP and a little blood leaking back through the valve may also have a heart murmur.

A heart murmur is the sound caused by the leaking blood.

Kids with MVP may also:

• feel dizzy or lightheaded

• feel anxious

• be really tired

• get out of breath when playing or exercising

• feel that their heart is skipping beats or beating very fast

• have chest pain

• have fainting episodes

Source: kidshealth.org


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