Mitral Valve Prolapse*
In most people, mitral valve prolapse, which affects women more than men, is a benign condition with few or no symptoms. In most instances, it reflects a normal variant rather than a single disease process. But in some patients it poses a significant problem. Potential sequelae include endocarditis, serious arrhythmia, and sudden death. Although a midsystolic click followed by a late systolic murmur is characteristic, definitive diagnosis requires echocardiography. Treatment ranges from education and reassurance in those who have mild disease to valve replacement in severe cases. Most athletes who have mitral valve prolapse can safely participate in all activities. Those with evidence of significant valvular disease, serious arrhythmia, or a family history of sudden death due to mitral valve prolapse, however, should participate only in low-intensity competitive sports.
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) affects up to 5% of the general population and up to 17% of young women and girls. Because of its relatively high prevalence, this disorder is of particular concern to physicians caring for athletes and other active patients. In most individuals, MVP is benign and causes few, if any, symptoms. People with more significant valvular abnormalities, however, appear to be at greater risk for serious complications, including bacterial endocarditis, arrhythmia, and even death. Identifying patients at risk for complications of MVP, therefore, is paramount before optimal treatment and exercise recommendations can be implemented.
* Much of this section was taken from: Physician & Sports Medicine -http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/1996/07_96/joy.htm
Web Links: Here are some Internet links that might be helpful. They look pretty good, but I cannot vouch for their accuracy or quality. As always with the Internet, browser beware!
Texas Heart Institute: http://www.tmc.edu/thi/mvp.html
Physician & Sports Medicine - http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/1996/07_96/joy.htm
HeartPoint - http://www.heartpoint.com/mitralvalveprolapse.html
eMedicine - http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic316.htm