Mitral Valve Prolapse
Exams and Tests
Since most people with Reference mitral valve prolapse Opens New Window (MVP) do not have symptoms, MVP is usually discovered during a routine health exam.
In some women who are only mildly affected by MVP, the condition may become undetectable after middle age.
Medical history and physical exam
Your doctor may suspect MVP if he or she hears a click or murmur while listening to your heartbeat. This click or murmur happens because the mitral valve is not shaped normally. MVP may be discovered if you have a test called an echocardiogram that is done for another reason.
If your doctor thinks you may have MVP, he or she will ask if you have a family history of MVP or heart disease and will conduct a physical exam to check for MVP. During the exam, he or she will listen closely to your heart.
To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may request an echocardiogram if you haven't had one. Your doctor may also evaluate you for other heart conditions.
An Reference echocardiogram is the most useful test for confirming that you have mitral valve prolapse. It is also useful to rule out MVP. Echocardiograms require careful review by an experienced doctor, because MVP is difficult to detect with this test. Some people who have MVP will have a normal echocardiogram. An echocardiogram is not needed if you do not have symptoms or complications of MVP.
Having a yearly echocardiogram is important if you have severe Reference mitral valve regurgitation Opens New Window or other complications.
In general, echocardiograms can show:
- The size and function of the left heart chambers (left atrium and ventricle).
- Bulging (prolapse) of the mitral valve flaps into the left upper chamber (left atrium) of the heart.
- Severe prolapse and thickened or misshapen flaps.
- Mitral regurgitation (backflow) of blood through the prolapsed valve.
Early detection and regular exams
Screening for MVP is not recommended or necessary.
If you have MVP, you will have regular follow-up exams. How often you need these exams is based on whether you have complications like mitral valve regurgitation or thickened valve flaps (leaflets). If you do not have symptoms or complications, your doctor may suggest an exam every 3 to 5 years.Reference 1
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 4, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology