Mitral Valve Prolapse: How is it linked to sudden cardiac death – Symptoms and causes

New Delhi : The heart is a complicated organ with an even more complicated functioning. The heart is divided into four chambers – two ventricles and two atriums. While the arteries and veins play an important role in the normal functioning of the heart, the valves dividing these chambers are also very significant. When one of them stops functioning properly, it can create major health and heart problems. Mitral valve is one of them.

According to research, the mitral valve and its abnormal functioning may have a link with sudden cardiac death.

What is mitral valve prolapse?

Mitral valve is the part of the heart that allows the blood to flow from one part of the heart to the other. Mitral valve prolapse is when the leaflets of this value do not open and close smoothly and evenly but instead bulge upward into the left atrium of the heart. Also called the Barlow syndrome, mitral valve prolapse is the improper closure of the valve between the heart’s upper and lower left chambers.

How is it linked to sudden cardiac death?

Research held by researchers from the University of Adelaide has proven that there exists a link between mitral valve prolapse and sudden cardiac death when the heart stops beating suddenly. Researches analysed 7600 studies and found that 12% of cardiac death patients with an unclear reason of death has mitral valve prolapse.

Doctors say that though there have been several cases studying the link, it has only been confirmed with this study that the association is in fact, real, and 15 in every 100 patients in a year who die of cardiac death have mitral valve prolapse.

The study also identifies the characteristics or symptoms of mitral valve prolapse that may cause cardiac death. Scarring of the heart muscle, severe bulging of both leaflets of the mitral valve and also leakage of the value have been identified as features that put the patients of mitral valve prolapse at a higher risk of cardiac death

What are the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse?

The symptoms of mitral valve prolapse are seldom clear and visible. The symptoms may occur when the blood leaks back through the valve. The symptoms are usually mild and vary from person to person. Some of the symptoms include irregular heartbeat, dizziness, chest pain, difficulty in breathing and fatigue. If you experience chest pain, urgently see a doctor. Other symptoms can be symptoms of a lot of other health problems and therefore you must see a doctor if the symptoms occur too often.

What are the causes of mitral valve prolapse?

Ideally, the valves of the heart close completely to avoid any backward leak when the left ventricle contracts blood into the left atrium. However, for patients who develop mitral valve prolapse, the mitral valve’s flaps have extra tissues bulging into the left atrium. This leads to the valve not closing properly and can result in a backflow of blood from the atrium to the ventricle.

Some people are born with a genetic risk of developing mitral valve prolapse while some can develop it due to other heart and health problems, like a health condition of connective tissues.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.