Mitral valve prolapse or MVP is also known as Barlow’s syndrome or “Balloon mitral valve”. MVP affects almost 10% of the world population. Our heart has 4 chambers. 2 upper auricles (right and left auricle) and 2 lower ventricles( right and left ventricles). The opening of the left auricles into left ventricle is guarded by the mitral valve (pocket like flaps) whose job is to prevent back-flow of the blood from the ventricle to the auricle.
The valves are supported by cordae tendinae which help the flaps to open and close. In patients suffering from MVP the valves and their supporting muscles are affected by myxomatous degeneration due to which they cannot prevent the back-flow of the blood, thereby giving rise to cardiac problems. So, how does one know about anything going on inside the body? Remember, our body responds to every little thing and even MVP shows some minor and major symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Mitral Valve Prolapse
Palpitations Of The Heart
Palpitations or irregular hear beats are noticed in people suffering from this problem. The patient feels as if his/her heart is skipping beats.In most MVP patients this “fluttering” heart is harmless but in a few of these cases, it may culminate into something far more serious.
People suffering from MVP have shown sudden increase in their heart rate. Tachycardia is an increase in the heart rate or pulse rate which is mostly noticed when patients check their heart-rate before exercising and find it to be abnormally high.
A Pain In The Chest
Chest pain is one of the most common symptoms of MVP which is often misunderstood. The pain is a sharp one that may last anything between a few seconds and several hours. Unlike an Angina pectoris, this pain does not respond to nitroglycerin.
People suffering from MVP suffer from migraine attacks more frequently than people who do not. This has been confirmed through a research study conducted by University Of California.
Patients with a valve prolapse suffer from an anxiety disorder. It is an anxious feeling that one experiences every single day. Most of these anxieties have no logical reason behind them.
Sudden Panic Attacks
In some patients, instead of a long phase of anxiety, sudden bouts of panic attacks have been noticed. In fact the MVP Center of Birmingham has conducted a study that revealed that 60% of MVP patients suffer from panic attacks. These attacks are outcomes of no apparent reason and are based on imagination. During the attack the patient may feel dizzy, sweat profusely, shake or tremble, experience chest pain and behave in a hysteric manner often at the end of which he/she faints.
Most patients diagnosed with MVP have also been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue syndrome. The patient feels that he/she has no energy to do a particular task even if it requires no energy. They also tend to get tired easily. This happens because, the valve prolapse also affects the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic system controls breathing and blood supply and once it is affected the muscles do not receive adequate supply of blood and oxygen, thus the patient gets tired easily.