Mitral Valve Prolapse
The heart has four rooms or chambers in it that hold blood. The upper chambers
are called atria and the lower chambers are called ventricles. Between
the chambers are valves. These valves act as one-way doors to direct the
flow of blood through the heart. The mitral (MI-tral) valve is made up
of two leaflets (flaps) that open and close to control blood flow to the
left ventricle. Mitral valve prolapse happens when the leaflets of the
mitral valve in your heart do not close properly.
MVP may also be called click-murmur syndrome or floppy-valve syndrome.
With MVP, the leaflets may not work right because they are too big or
floppy. MVP can also happen if the chords that hold the leaflets in place
become stretched or swollen. When listening to your heart, your caregiver
may hear a clicking sound because of the floppy leaflets. Some of the
blood from the ventricle may come backward into the atrium because the
leaflets do not work right. This causes a leaking or "whooshing"
sound, which is called a murmur.
What causes MVP? MVP is common, even in healthy people. You can be born
with MVP or may develop it later in life. MVP may be genetic (runs in
the family). Your MVP may have been caused by a childhood illness, such
as rheumatic fever. Having certain other health conditions may increase
your chance of having MVP. Many times the cause of MVP is not known.