Is mitral valve prolapse life threatening?
Is mitral valve prolapse life threatening? Normally, it isn’t. For a lot of people living with a mitral valve that prolapses, the condition is benign and does not cause problems. Most individuals with MVP do not even know that they have the disorder.
That being said, there are different types of mitral valve prolapse. Some are more dangerous and can lead to serious complications. Sometimes, MVP complications can result in death. Rarely, a mitral prolapse may even cause sudden death.
Classic MVP is the type of mitral prolapse most likely to cause deadly complications, particularly when leaflet displacement is flail and asymmetric. This type usually accompanies disturbing mitral valve prolapse symptoms. Asymmetric flail displacement leaves the mitral leaflet flapping about (flailing), so sufferers tend to have a leaky heart valve. Leaking valves often require mitral valve surgery.
What are the complications of mitral valve prolapse?
Mitral valve regurgitation is the most common complication of MVP. When there is mitral regurgitation, blood leaks back into the left atrium (the heart’s upper left chamber) when the heart beats. Over time, blood can accumulate in the atrium and the lungs, especially if the regurgitation is significant. This can enlarge/damage the left ventricle (the bottom left heart chamber), resulting in heart failure.
Regurgitation of the mitral valve also increases the risk of infective endocarditis. Infective endocarditis is an infection of the endocardium, the inner layer of tissue that lines the chambers and valves of the heart. It occurs when microorganisms enter the bloodstream, attach to the endocardium, and form anomalous growths, usually around the mitral valve. This can cause deadly complications.
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) and pulmonary hypertension are other mitral valve prolapse complications. With AFib, abnormal electrical signals in the atria cause an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clotting, strokes, and heart failure. Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the lung arteries. It can cause cor pulmonale, bleeding in the lungs, and blood clots, as well as arrhythmias.
Can mitral valve prolapse cause sudden death?
Possibly. Mitral valve prolapse has been associated with ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the last few decades. There have been multiple reports of such events. Moreover, recent studies suggest that people with certain electrocardiography, echocardiography, and cardiovascular MRI findings are more likely to die suddenly and unexpectedly from ventricular arrhythmias.
Is mitral valve prolapse life threatening? It can be. Can mitral valve prolapse cause sudden death? It is possible. However, according to experts, the risk of sudden cardiac death only increases with significant prolapse and specific features. Only a small percentage of mitral prolapse sufferers have the physical characteristics that increase the risk of sudden death from MVP arrhythmia.
There are several characteristics that increase the risk of potentially fatal arrhythmogenic mitral valve prolapse and arrhythmic mitral valve prolapse and sudden cardiac death. These include having a bileaflet mitral prolapse, frequent and complex ventricular ectopy, and fibrosis of the papillary muscles and inferobasal portion of the left ventricular wall. Being a female also increases the risk.
Is mitral valve prolapse a serious condition?
Usually, no, and the global mitral valve prolapse death rate is low. However, for some folks living with a mitral prolapse, the condition can be serious. As mentioned above, it can lead to medical complications that can be life threatening. In addition, it can cause a variety of disturbing symptoms, including heart palpitations, chest pains or angina, and dyspnea (trouble breathing).
Mitral valve prolapse symptoms can be frightening and incredibly bothersome, in particular when MVP occurs with autonomic dysfunction (dysautonomia). This is sometimes called the mitral valve prolapse syndrome. The presence/frequency/intensity of symptoms does not necessarily indicate that the condition is serious, though, and symptomless mitral prolapse can be problematic.
For people asking “Is mitral valve prolapse a serious condition,” MVP tends to be more serious when there is mitral regurgitation. The higher the degree of regurgitation, the higher the risk of problems and complications, generally, which can be fatal. Can you die from mitral valve prolapse? Is mitral valve prolapse life threatening? In some cases, but most sufferers can live long, healthy lives.