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  • 5/25/2010

Mitral Valve Prolapse (Part 2)

mitral valve prolapse

What Will the Doctor Do?

Most kids who learn they have MVP find out about it during a regular checkup. The doctor may be listening to the kid’s heart and hear a click or a murmur. The doctor then will send the kid to a pediatric cardiologist (say: pee-dee-ah-trik kar-dee-ah-luh-jist), a doctor who treats heart conditions in kids.

First, the cardiologist will talk to you and your parents for a while and ask some questions about your health. Then he or she will examine you and listen to your heart. The doctor also may order some tests, like an echocardiogram (say: eh-koh-kar-dee-uh-gram) and an electrocardiogram (say: ee-lek-troh-kar-dee-uh-gram) (EKG). The tests can help the doctor find out what’s causing the different sound in your heart.

These tests don’t hurt. For an EKG, you will lie down and a doctor or nurse will put some small stickers on your chest. These stickers are connected to wires and a machine that tracks the activity in your heart. The wires record every beat of your heart. This test usually takes less than 15 minutes.

An echocardiogram (echo for short) uses sound waves to make a picture of the heart and the blood flowing through it. For this test, you will lie down and the doctor or a specially trained person (called a technologist) will put some gel on your chest. The gel helps make the picture of your heart clearer, and it might feel a little cool and sticky.

Then the person doing the test will press gently on your chest with a thick plastic wand and move this wand around on the skin over your heart. As it moves, the wand takes pictures of your heart. An echo takes longer than an EKG — about 30 minutes. If you have MVP, the doctor should be able to see the faulty flaps on this picture.

If the doctor discovers that you do have MVP, you probably won’t need any treatment.

In a few cases, kids may take other medicine to help the heart pump blood out to the body or to give the heart a more regular rhythm. More rarely, surgery may be done to fix a mitral valve That’s really leaky.

MVP Can Lead to Infections

If bacteria travel through the blood and get stuck on your tricky mitral valve, they can cause an infection in the heart. This kind of infection is called bacterial endocarditis (say: bak-teer-ee-ul en-doh-kar-dye-tus). The good news is that this is very rare and doesn’t seem to be a problem at all in kids if the tricky mitral valve isn’t leaking.

In the past, kids with MVP and leaky valves were told to take a big dose of antibiotic (a medicine that kills germs called bacteria) before every dentist visit or before any surgery. Now we know that this is not necessary. What is very important is to take good care of your teeth every day.

You may wonder what taking care of your teeth has to do with keeping your heart healthy. If you have gum disease or gingivitis, your gums become inflamed or irritated. Bacteria that live normally live in your mouth can then sneak through this inflamed tissue and get into your bloodstream.

So, make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day, use dental floss, and see your dentist every 6 months. This is the best way to prevent infection in your heart.

Can You Play?

If you have MVP and no other problems, you won’t have to do anything special to take care of yourself. You may have to see your cardiologist every year or two. During these visits, you may have more echo tests to let the doctor look at your heart and mitral valve. Your doctor probably will let you know if it’s OK to play sports and do all your usual activities.

If you have symptoms, like feeling your heart is beating really fast or having a fainting spell, check with the doctor about sports. You may need some extra tests before you get the OK. But most kids with this problem can play sports without a problem.

In other words, you can still be the MVP (most valuable player) even if you have MVP (mitral valve prolapse)!

Source: kidshealth.org

Other links:

Mitral Valve Prolapse (Part 1)

Taking Charge of Anger (Part 1)

Taking Charge of Anger (Part 2)

Computers Can Be a Real Pain

Talking About Your Feelings

How to Pick a Great Book to Read

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