The heart is a pump with four chambers. Two are filling chambers the right and left atria, also called receiving chambers, because they receive unoxygenated blood from the general and heart muscle respectively; two are pumping chambers, the right ventricle pumps into the lungs and the left ventricle pumps into the systemic or general circulation.

Blood that circulates throughout the body enters the heart’s right atrium then it passes through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle. From here, blood is pumped through the pulmonic valve into the left and right pulmonary arteries and on to the lungs, where carbon dioxide is released unto the outside air through exhalation- and picks up oxygen. After that, the oxygen-replenished blood returns to the heart and fills the left atrium then it flows to he mitral valve unto the left ventricle. Finally, it is pumped through the aortic valve into the aorta and to the rest of the human body.

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A mitral valve has two flaps or leaflets. They are shaped like aparachute and are attached to the supporting muscles by strings. These strings called chorda tendinae help close the flaps evenly and securely. When the mitral valve closes, it blocks backflow of blood from left ventricle to left atrium. This ensures therefore that blood from the left ventricle goes thru the aortic valve and on to the rest of the body.

In mitral valve prolapse (also called Click Murmur syndrome, Barlow’s syndrome, Balloon mitral valve and Floppy valve syndrome), one or both leaflets of the mitral valve are enlarged or their supporting strings are too long. As a result, when the heart pumps, the mitral valve flaps do not close evenly. Instead part of one or two flaps goes farther backward than normal into the left atrium.

Thus, some amount of blood leaks backward unto the left atrium.

Studies have shown that 2 to 3 percent of the population have mitral valve prolapse. The exact cause of MVP or mitral valve prolapse is unknown. A few other conditions are occasionally associated with MVP, like septal defects, coronary artery disease, diseases of the heart muscle itself and inflammatory diseases of the heart. Your doctor will probably find evidence of MVP by listening to your heart with a stethoscope you may have to have an echocardiogram, wherein ultrasound waves are painlessly bounced off yiur heart to give a picture of your heart valves

In general, MVP is not serious. It is extremely rare for MVP to be life-threatening.

However, bacterial endocarditis is a dangerous infection of the valves or the linings of the heart. Also some people may have abnormal heart beats and they feel palpitations or skipped beats. Some may tire easily, have chest pain or shortness of breath.

Your friendly family cardiologist will tell you what possible exercise you may or you may not do, depending on the severity of your MVP, and probably, if the regurgitate leakage is significant, may prescribe some medications. Most people with MVP have no symptoms, will have no problems and therefore, do not need treatment, and enjoy active lives without any restriction.

However, it’ always a good idea to consult with your family physician. And to our dear readers and patients, may you have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.