Mitral valve prolapse treatments include medication to manage symptoms, lifestyle changes, and in people with severe cases, surgical intervention to repair or replace the mitral valve.

Mitral valve prolapse occurs when the heart’s mitral valve has excess tissue that bulges into the left atrium, resulting in regurgitation or leakage of blood backward into the atrium.

Many people with the condition do not experience symptoms or require treatment. Doctors may instead suggest conservative management through regular checkups and echocardiograms. If there are signs the condition is worsening or there is a significant volume of blood backflowing into the left atrium, doctors may recommend medications or surgery.

This article outlines mitral valve prolapse treatments and the symptoms to look for.

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Many individuals with mitral valve prolapse do not need treatment. However, if they have symptoms or a large amount of blood is backflowing into the left atrium, doctors may suggest medications or surgery.

People with mitral valve prolapse who develop arrhythmias may benefit from beta-blockers, such as propranolol. These medications help the heart beat regularly and improve blood flow. Other medications may include:

Doctors may recommend surgery if the prolapse is more severe, worsening, or the heart is weakening. Surgeons can use open-heart surgery or less invasive techniques to repair or replace the abnormal mitral valve. Usually, doctors prefer valve repair over replacement, as repairs are less likely to weaken the heart muscle or cause an infection.

Surgeons typically consider the following before recommending surgery for a person:

  • their age and health status
  • the severity of their symptoms
  • the risks involved in surgery
  • the presence of other valve abnormalities that may require intervention

Mitral valve prolapse occurs when the excess or floppy valve tissue prolapses, or billows, into the left atrium. This sometimes leads to regurgitation, which is when blood backflows, or regurgitates, through the valve and returns to the chamber it came from. If this backflow is significant, the heart cannot push enough blood to the body.

However, most individuals with mitral valve prolapse have no backflow or associated health issues.

Learn more about mitral valve prolapse.

The majority of those with mitral valve prolapse do not have symptoms. They may discover they have the condition during routine checkups.

If a person has symptoms, they may include the following:

If a person experiences any symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation, such as chest pain, they should see a doctor.

Additionally, if a person has a known history of mitral valve prolapse and notices any new or worsening symptoms, they should seek medical attention. Early diagnosis and management can help prevent potential complications associated with mitral valve prolapse.

The cause of mitral valve prolapse is an abnormality of the mitral valve. The flaps or leaflets of the mitral valve may be longer than typical or too loose, allowing them to push back into the atrium. The mitral valve opening can also become stretched, so it cannot close entirely.

Doctors are unsure of the specific cause of mitral valve prolapse but have linked it to genetics, as it tends to run in families. There are also links with connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Doctors may discover mitral valve prolapse during a routine health assessment. When using a stethoscope, they may notice a heart murmur with a clicking sound as the heart beats.

The doctor will then order further tests to assess the condition. These include echocardiograms to evaluate the structure and function of the heart and electrocardiograms (EKG) to record the heart’s electrical impulses.

While mitral valve prolapse can be benign, it can sometimes lead to complications, which may include:

Monitoring for these potential complications and timely intervention is essential in managing mitral valve prolapse effectively.

Mitral valve prolapse is not typically preventable, especially in people who have a strong genetic component.

However, people with the condition can prevent complications by:

  • Brushing and flossing regularly: Good dental hygiene helps keep bacteria out of the bloodstream, reducing the risk of a heart infection.
  • Having regular checkups: Doctors should monitor the condition for any progression and treat as necessary.
  • Taking medicines as prescribed: People must take all of their medications according to the prescribed schedule. This may include taking medications for heart rhythm problems and high blood pressure.
  • Adopting heart-healthy habits: People should adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle by getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and managing stress.

Learn more about heart health.

The outlook for individuals with mitral valve prolapse is generally favorable. Most people experience only mild or no symptoms and can live full lives with the appropriate management.

The key factors determining mortality risk in people with mitral valve prolapse are how much blood leaks backward through the mitral valve — mitral valve regurgitation — and how well the heart pumps blood out — ejection fraction.

Therefore, anyone with the condition should have regular follow-up appointments with a healthcare professional to monitor them and adjust their treatment plan as needed.

Mitral valve prolapse is a heart condition characterized by the improper closure of the mitral valve. Most people experience no symptoms, and doctors discover the condition during regular checkups.

Mitral valve prolapse treatments may include medications and surgery to repair or replace the faulty mitral valve. However, many people require no treatment, and regular health assessments are enough to their monitor heart health.