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Valvular Heart Disease

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July 24th, 2013

Studies concerning heart diseases have revealed that mitral valve prolapse (MVP), a valvular heart disease affects both men and women. While in females, it usually affects younger women and possibility of disease decreases as they age, in men MVP can strike at any age.

Mitral valve is 1 of the 4 heart valves and it averts the backflow of deoxygenated blood from the left ventricle to the left atrium. The mitral valve is made of two flaps that appear somewhat like Bishop’s mitre (and hence it gets its name) and it is connected to supporting muscle. In normal functioning of mitral valve, it opens and closes and the blood can move only in one direction – from left atrium to left ventricle. If this stops, it could be a sign of mitral valve prolapse. Sudden chest pain, fatigue, restlessness, anxiety are common signs of this condition. Some female victims may also get migraine headaches due to mitral valve prolapse.

Patients with severe MVP, irregular heart rhythms, fainting sensations, sudden shivering, angina and attacks of anxiety do need to have tests, diagnosis followed by a timely treatment for this valvular heart disease. Florida Heart Group has a team of specialized Orlando doctors including female cardiologists for diagnosing and treating the syndrome.  

A simple test with stethoscope and then with echocardiogram (conducted using special sound waves) is used to diagnose mitral valve prolapse.

Beta blockers including atenolol, metoprolol and propranolol are some of the medications that usually become first line of defense against MVP. These drugs increase the size of the left ventricle to minimize the degree of prolapse. The calcium blockers such as verapamil and diltiazem can be given to patients who cannot take beta blockers.

Majority of the patients with mitral valve prolapse require no invasive treatment except for that through oral medications but in very rare cases, surgery may be required. Patients in need of surgery usually have severe mitral regurgitation that causes increasing heart failure or progressive heart enlargement. Mitral valve repair is preferable to mitral valve replacement as the surgical treatment for mitral valve regurgitation.

At Florida Heart Group, we have advanced and multiple facilities for diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases. Our team of female cardiologists is known for successful and timely treatment of heart diseases in women. Never ignore any symptom of vascular problems, even if it seems to be a ‘mild sign’ – your first step toward a healthy and long life is to ensure that your body does function normally.