More mitral valve repair and replacement surgeries are performed worldwide than any other type of heart valve surgery, and that number is certainly likely to rise significantly given that some seventy six million of America's Baby Boomers are now or will be facing heart valve disease.
Mitral valve prolapse, also referred to as MVP, is by far the most common heart valve condition. It has been reported than one in twenty Americans have this valvular disorder. The four valves of the heart, tricuspid, mitral, arotic, and pulmonary, when functioning properly, move blood in one direction.
The mitral valve specifically moves blood from the left atrium down to the left ventricle. Like any of the other heart valves, when the valve fails to function as it was meant to do, its two leaflets do not seal properly and heart valve leakage occurs, or to be more precise the valve regurgitates blood backwards into the left atrium.
According to the Mayo Clinic, leaking heart valves can cause the heart to work overtime re-pumping the blood through the heart and body, sometimes resulting in heart arrhythmias, thickening of the heart, and even infection.
When your Doctor listens to your heart, if you have valve prolapse, a clicking or whooshing sound may be heard. Your Doctor or cardiologist will sometimes describe this sound to you as a heart murmur.
Mitral valve prolapse, interestingly enough, occurs more frequently in women than in men. In fact, studies show that six percent of all women have this common heart valve malfunctioning disorder.
To be sure, most people with valve prolapse are not even aware of their condition because their valve regurgitation is not severe enough to warrant any treatment, much less mitral valve repair or replacement surgery.
However, if you've been diagnosed with a severe valve regurgitation condition, you will more than likely be facing some form of heart valve surgery whether it be a minimally invasive procedure, or a full-blown open heart surgery. Your cardiologist will help you decide which treatment is best suited to remedy your condition.
Here are some of common symptoms of mitral valve prolapse:
- Feeling like your heart is skipping beats or racing
- Heart Palpitations
- Intermittent chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained exhaustion
Your Doctor or cardiologist can order an echocardiogram, also referred to as a heart echo, to help determine if you need a mitral valve repair or replacement surgery.