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What are the signs and symptoms of mitral valve prolapse?

Most people with mitral valve prolapse have no symptoms, however, those who do commonly complain of symptoms such as fatigue, palpitations, chest pain, anxiety, and migraine headaches. Stroke is a very rare complication of mitral valve prolapse.

Fatigue is the most common complaint, although the reason for fatigue is not understood. Patients with mitral valve prolapse may have imbalances in their autonomic nervous system, which regulates heart rate and breathing. Such imbalances may cause inadequate blood oxygen delivery to the working muscles during exercise, thereby causing fatigue.

Palpitations are sensations of fast or irregular heart beats. In most patients with mitral valve prolapse, palpitations are harmless. In very rare cases, potentially serious heart rhythm abnormalities may underlie palpitations and require further evaluation and treatment.

Sharp chest pains are reported in some patients with mitral valve prolapse, which can be prolonged. Unlike angina, chest pain with mitral valve prolapse rarely occurs during or after exercise, and may not respond to nitroglycerin.

Anxiety, panic attacks, and depression may be associated with mitral valve prolapse. Like fatigue, these symptoms are believed to be related to imbalances of the autonomic nervous system.

Migraine headaches have been occasionally linked to mitral valve prolapse. They are probably related to abnormal nervous system control of the tension in the blood vessels in the brain.

Mitral valve prolapse may be rarely associated with strokes occurring in young patients. These patients appear to have increased blood clotting tendencies due to abnormally sticky blood clotting elements, called platelets.

Often the severity of symptoms in patients with mitral prolapse is inversely correlated to the degree of anatomic abnormality. Many patients with severe symptoms have barely detectable prolapse, and the small minority with severe prolapse and valve dysfunction have no symptoms.

Return to Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)

See what others are saying

Comment from: mg_1127, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 14

I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse (MVP) at 17 years of age. Symptoms were heart palpitations and I always black out when standing for 5 or 6 hours (I was a nursing student before). I went to the doctor alone because I was scared, they did tests on me and found out I have MVP and my heart was damaged, not too high maybe 11 -14 percent in two parts. My cardiogram also showed the mitral valves clashing whenever they pump out blood which causes the pain. I've been drinking my maintenance Sumapen ever since. I used to take it twice a day along with B complex, but when I got better (rare palpitations and numbness and headache) they reduced it to 1 cap per day. But lately, I am now 24 years old, I've been feeling the chest pains, palpitations, numbness in my shoulder, pain at the back, coldness in hands, and shortness of breath (which makes it hard to sleep sometimes). I wonder if this is still MVP. I have been drinking coffee and I was sent to the emergency room once because I couldn't breathe because of caffeine.

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Comment from: DoubleAA, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 03

I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse (MVP) when I was 28, over 25 years ago. I had an event with fluttering heart that scared the life out of me. It was triggered by consumption of a few glasses of wine with an excited rush to greet a visitor outside. The diagnosis was that it was minor and wouldn't affect me beyond the occasional experience such as the one I described. As years went by, the leakage has increased and the symptoms with it. I now cannot lie down for sleep as the pressure in my lungs feels smothering. Non-invasive surgery is certain soon.

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Comment from: Joli16, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

I was just reading through this thread because I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse (MVP) as a teenager. I am currently 50 years old, in shape, lean body mass, eat healthy, take vitamins, etc. Over the years I have had episodes of sharp stabbing pain in my heart, and each breath would bring about the pain. I have gone years with no pain, but I just started having pain again. I also have been on anxiety medications for almost 7 years. I have had shortness of breath, pain in my calves, numbness, and cold hands and feet. The last time I went to a cardiologist was a few years back, and they did echo and stress tests. They confirmed the MVP, but kind of disregarded it like it is not a big deal. Meanwhile I am having stabbing pains in my left chest (heart) while doing nothing, lying down! It is scary to me. After reading these threads, I realize that I am not crazy! I hope that there is some help for it. I don't want to go to the doctor again and get dismissed like I'm a hypochondriac, which I absolutely am not! Thanks for your insight.

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