Mitral Valve Prolapse | Valvular Heart Disease

Heart and Vascular Care

Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)

Our Heart and Vascular Center specialists diagnose and treat mitral valve prolapse using leading-edge techniques. Our team works with you to develop an individualized treatment plan, prevent complications and maximize your quality of life.

Medically reviewed on June 20, 2023.

Older woman sitting on an exam table with younger woman and male physician next to her

Understanding Mitral Valve Prolapse

The mitral valve allows blood to flow between your heart’s left atrium, one of its upper chambers, and your left ventricle, one of its two lower chambers.

With mitral valve prolapse, the valve’s two leaflets, or flaps, don't close evenly. When your heart contracts, these floppy valves bulge (prolapse) back into your left atrium. This leaky heart valve can cause blood to seep back into the atrium (regurgitation).  

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Symptoms of Mitral Valve Prolapse

If you have mitral valve prolapse, you may not have symptoms unless your blood flow is significantly reduced.

Common Symptoms

If you develop mitral valve prolapse, your symptoms might include:

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath, especially during exercise or when you lie flat
  • Fatigue

Emergency Symptoms

Call 911 immediately if you experience symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, including:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Difficulty speaking

Causes of Mitral Valve Prolapse

You may have been born with mitral valve prolapse or it developed with age. Possible causes of mitral valve prolapse include:

Rheumatic Heart Disease

Rheumatic heart disease can cause your heart valve to scar and narrow. 

Myxomatous Valve Disease

Myxomatous valve disease is when the connective tissue of your mitral valve starts falling apart.


After a severe blood infection, you may develop endocarditis, or inflammation of your heart’s inner lining. Endocarditis can damage the leaflets in your mitral heart valves.


Risk Factors for Mitral Valve Prolapse

You may have greater risk for mitral valve prolapse if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

Biological Sex

Women are more likely than men to have mitral valve prolapse.

Family History

If your family has a history of mitral valve prolapse, you may be at higher risk for mitral valve prolapse.

Grave’s Disease

Grave’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes your thyroid gland to become overactive.

Marfan Syndrome

Marfan syndrome affects your connective tissue. It can increase your risk for mitral valve prolapse.

Radiation Treatment

Radiation treatment for cancer can increase your risk of having thickened and narrow heart valves.


Mitral Valve Prolapse Diagnosis

We aim to diagnose and treat mitral valve prolapse early to help prevent complications such as heart attack or stroke. Mitral valve prolapse may also lead to irregular heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation or ventricular fibrillation.

During testing, your physician will do a thorough physical evaluation. They will also ask you about your medical history and symptoms. 

When listening to your heart, your physician may hear abnormal heart sounds, such as a click or murmur. 

Your physician will confirm mitral valve prolapse using an echocardiogram, which creates an image of your heart with high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound). They may also order an exercise test to determine how physical activity affects how your heart valves work.

Treatments for Mitral Valve Prolapse

Your physician will discuss various treatment options with you along with the expected outcomes from treatment.


Your physician may prescribe medication(s) to prevent complications of mitral valve prolapse. These include drugs that prevent arrhythmias or thin your blood to prevent blood clots.

Transcatheter Edge-to-Edge Repair (TEER)

This procedure uses a catheter to implant a small clip that attaches to your mitral valve and helps it close more completely.

Mitral Valve Repair or Replacement Surgery

Depending on the extent of damage to your mitral valve and your underlying causes, your physician may recommend surgery to repair or replace your mitral valve. Our minimally invasive approaches avoid cutting into your sternum. Instead, we perform the operation through key-hole incisions between your ribs with a camera and robotic assistance. 

Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement (TMVR)

During TMVR, we use a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) to insert a new mitral valve in your heart. This procedure is one of the least invasive methods for mitral valve replacement and offers an alternative to open heart surgery.

You can rely on our leading TMVR experts — the first heart team on the West Coast to perform TMVR by going through the femoral (leg) vein.

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