Mitral Valve Prolapse: Treatment Options

by Jodee on May 6, 2010

Once a mitral valve prolapse has been diagnosed, how is this heart condition treated? Doctors have a number of options for people who have been diagnosed with this common condition.

In many cases, a person who has been diagnosed with a mitral valve prolapse doesn’t need any specific treatment. This is generally the case in situations where the patient isn’t exhibiting any symptoms of the condition.

Medications

Medications may be used to treat the chest pain and heart palpitations associated with mitral valve prolapse. When blood clots and the risk of stroke are a concern, the doctor may recommend taking Aspirin. Beta blockers are another option, since these drugs make the heart beat more slowly and with less force. Blood pressure is lowered as a result, and the blood vessels become more relaxed and open up.

Blood thinners may also be considered to treat mitral valve prolapse. Patients who are being prescribed these medications should ask about potential side effects and take them as directed by their doctor.

Surgery

Since severe cases of mitral valve prolapse can lead to heart failure, surgery may be recommended as a treatment option. The affected heart valves can be repaired, which will improve their functioning. In more severe cases, they may need to be replaced.

Damaged heart valves can be replaced with prosthetic ones.


Two types are available: Mechanical and Tissue. Mechanical replacement heart valves will perform well for some time, but patients with this type of device must take medications to prevent blood clots from forming on the valve. If a blood clot forms and then detaches, it could travel through the body to the brain, causing a stroke.

As the name implies, tissue heart valves are fashioned out of animal tissue. Heart valves from pigs can be used in humans. They do wear down over time, and may need to be replaced at some point. The advantage to choosing tissue heart valves is that the patient doesn’t need to take anticoagulant medications to guard against blood clots following the heart surgery.

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