The mitral valve is one of the valves in the heart that controls the flow of blood. Mitral valve prolapse refers to a disorder that leads to malfunctioning of this valve. Discussed below are some of the most possible causes of this dreaded condition.
The heart has chambers and within every beat there is transfer of oxygenated blood in and out of these chambers, we all know that there is a left and a right side of the heart. Now the left side consists of a ventricle and an atrium. There is a valve located between them, this is termed as mitral or bicuspid valve. It is a leaf like structure on both sides, that acts like a barrier.
The major function of this valve is to open and close for the passage of oxygenated blood. The valve closes as the left ventricles contract and opens as the ventricle relaxes. This helps to prevent blood from the left ventricle flowing back to the left atrium, this helps in the process of oxygenated blood from the lungs to fill the left ventricle.
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP), which is also known as click murmur syndrome, basically has either of these flaps or leaf like tendons large or swollen in size, or the strings or tendon like structure called the chordae tendineae, that attach them to the ventricular wall are longer than normal. This is scientifically termed as myxomatous degeneration. In this process a specific structural protein is disturbed and the result is swelling and thickening of the flaps of the valve. Due to this enlargement, when the valve is supposed to close, the flaps sometimes stretch or bend backwards or prolapse in the atrium.
Sometimes the flaps may not swell, but due to floppy flaps, they may not function well. A small amount of blood may leak from the ventricle into the atrium. A very tiny amount of blood leakage will not be a serious concern, the heart still functions well but when this outgrows, it may cause complications. Most of the time, the patient is not aware of this condition for a long time. Let us check what exactly are the causes of mitral valve prolapse in the following segment of this article.
What Causes Mitral Valve Prolapse
We know that the major cause is myxomatous degeneration, that causes the valve to thicken, but doctors do not have a strong cause for this condition. All the possible causes are listed below.
- Most of the doctors believe that people have abnormal valves since birth, it is also believed to be in the genes and carried in the family. This disorder affects 4% to 10% of the total global population.
- This disorder is known to possibly be related to various genetic disorders like osteogenesis imperfecta, marfan syndrome, ehlers-danlos syndrome, etc. Connective tissue disorders are also linked to mitral valve prolapse which has marfan’s syndrome as a part of it.
- Experts do not have a strong conclusion on the exact cause of this abnormality. Observation has led them to understand a typical characteristic of the person that is affected.
- It was observed that most women suffer from this disorder than men. The age group for women was between 20 and 40 years.
- It is observed that people who suffer from MVP are usually tall, thin with long limbs, arms and fingers and a straight back. This can be related to Marfan’s syndrome, which is a connective tissue disorder. As this syndrome causes the body to have abnormally long limbs and hands. They also have loose joints and have a bulge in the artery of the heart.
- Another cause that can be linked to MVP is a disorder of the autonomous nervous system, which is the system that controls vital functions like breathing. In medical terms it is referred to as dystonia.
MVP will not have any specific symptoms. Its signs and symptoms are similar to that of an enlarged heart valve. Few patients experience panic attacks, chest pain shortness of breath, fatigue, depression, palpitations and migraines. If these symptoms worsen it can cause other serious complications. But very rarely does this cause serious heart problems. MVP that causes a very small amount of blood leak will not cause any harm. The prognosis for MVP is good and people with this condition can live a normal and healthy life.
With this we conclude on causes of mitral valve prolapse. So in case you have these murmurs or if you are tall and thin with long limbs, do not jump to the conclusion that you are suffering from mitral valve prolapse. A proper medical examination should be followed, which should clear your confusion. Take care!