Mitral Valve Prolapse

The mitral valve is one of 4 valves in your heart. They open and close to control the flow of blood into and out of the heart. The mitral valve connects the left atrium to the left ventricle. Mitral valve prolapse means that the mitral valve is loose or floppy. This is often an inherited condition. It can also occur in the setting of other cardiac disease.

Most cases of mitral valve prolapse don’t cause any harm and have no symptoms. In other cases, symptoms may include:

  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat

  • Chest pains

  • Dizziness

  • Fainting spells

  • Shortness of breath

Some people with mitral valve prolapse may have panic attacks, anxiety, or fatigue. More serious symptoms are uncommon.

Home care

Benign cases of mitral valve prolapse don’t need any special treatment or limits on activity.

If your healthcare provider is able to hear a “click-murmur” in your heart:

  • Brush and floss your teeth regularly. This will keep your gums and teeth healthy. It will lower your risk for heart valve infection.

  • Tell your dentist or surgeon before you have any procedure done. Antibiotics are no longer needed before dental procedures for people with benign mitral valve prolapse. But you may still need to take antibiotics before a procedure in some cases to lower your risk for heart valve infection.

General care

  • Limit how much caffeine, alcohol, and stimulants you use if you have fainting spells or palpitations that aren’t controlled with medicine. Also avoid strenuous activity in this case.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. You may need more tests. You should have a checkup every 2 to 3 years so your provider can look at how your valve is working.

Call 911

Call 911 if any of these occur:

  • Chest pain that’s new

  • Chest pain that gets worse or doesn’t go away within 24 hours

  • Ankle swelling or shortness of breath

  • Fluttering, racing, or pounding heartbeat (palpitations) that lasts longer than 5 minutes

  • Dizzy spells, lightheadedness, or fainting

  • Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, or on one side of the face

  • Difficulty speaking or seeing