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MITRAL VALVE PROLAPSE:

Mitral valve prolapseMitral valve prolapse is the most common heart valve abnormality and has a strong hereditary tendency. Most patients with mitral valve prolapse have no symptoms and require no treatment. The mitral valve is one of the four heart valves. A normal mitral valve consists of two thin leaflets, located between the left atrium and the left ventricle of the heart. The mitral valve prevents blood from flowing backward in the heart. In patients with mitral valve prolapse, the mitral apparatus becomes thickened and enlarged. This causes leakage of blood through the valve opening. When severe, mitral regurgitation can lead to heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms.

Most patients are totally unaware of the prolapsing of the mitral valve, but mitral valve prolapse can be associated with fatigue and/or palpitations. Mitral valve prolapse can often be detected by a doctor during examination of the heart and can be confirmed with an echocardiogram.

Patients with mitral valve prolapse may be given antibiotics prior to any procedure which might introduce bacteria into the bloodstream, including dental work and minor surgery. The condition is slightly more prevalent in women than in men.