Mitral Valve Prolapse

Mitral valve prolapse is a heart problem in which the valve that separates the upper and lower chambers of the left side of the heart does not close properly. The mitral valve helps blood on the left side of the heart flow in one direction. It closes to keep blood from moving backward when the heart beats or contracts.

In most cases, mitral valve prolapse is harmless, and patients usually do not know they have the problem. As much as 10 percent of the population has some minor insignificant form of mitral valve prolapse, but it does not generally affect lifestyle. In a small number of cases, the prolapse can cause blood to leak backward. This condition is called mitral regurgitation, which may need to be treated with medication or surgery.


Many patients with mitral valve prolapse do not have symptoms. Patients with symptoms may experience:

  • Sensation of feeling the heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Chest pain (not caused by coronary artery disease or a heart attack)
  • Difficulty breathing after activity
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath when lying flat (orthopnea)

Learn more about Mitral Valve Repair


Most of the time, there are few or no symptoms, and treatment is not needed.

A person has severe mitral valve prolapse causing severe regurgitation or worsening symptoms may need surgery to repair or replace the valve.

Mitral valve prolapse may also be referred to as Barlow syndrome, floppy mitral valve, myxomatous mitral valve, billowing mitral valve, systolic click-murmur syndrome or prolapsing mitral leaflet syndrome.

Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you.

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