Mitral Valve Prolapse is a heart condition in which the valve leaflets and the cordae becomes floppy and does not close properly. This condition is also called click-murmur syndrome, floppy mitral valve syndrome, and Barlow syndrome (named after John Brereton Barlow who first described the condition in 1966).
Typically there are 2 flaps, or leaflets in the mitral valve, one leaflet is situated in the left atrium and the other one is in the left ventricle of the heart. They are shaped like parachutes and are connected to the inner wall of the left ventricle by a cord-like tendons called chordae tendineae. Normally, when the ventricles calm down the mitral valve opens to let the oxygenated blood from the lungs to distribute in the left ventricle. The mitral valve closes easily to prevent back flow of the blood from the left ventricle to the left atrium.
Mitral Valve Prolapse occurs when the valves and cordae are disturbed by myxomatous degeneration. It is a process in which the protein collagen are thickened, enlarged and the chordae are too long. When the ventricles contract the unwanted leaflets prolapse to the left atrium and occasionally permit blood flow in the course of the valve opening.
According to studies mitral valve prolapse commonly occurs in women aged 20 to 40 years of age although the causes of this condition is not well known. People who have mitral valve prolapse experiences the following symptoms:
A sharp, dull chest pain especially pain under left breast when pressing the area that last from a few seconds to longer hours. The chest pain is not related to myocardial ischemia or coronary artery disease.
Fatigue is also associated with mitral valve prolapse although the relationship is not well understood. An individual who experiences this condition may have discrepancy in their nervous system that causes insufficient blood oxygen release to the working muscles thus causing fatigue.
Along with pain under left breast, palpitations are also experienced by individuals with mitral valve prolapse especially while lying on the left side.
Migraine has been also a common symptom of the condition and they are probably related to irregular nervous system control of the pressure in the blood vessel.
Dizziness and ligh-headedness especially when getting out of bed or rising up from a chair.
Other common mitral valve prolapse symptoms are, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, panick attacks and low energy level.