Mitral valve prolapse syndrome may be associated with migraine headache symptoms.
The cause of MVP is unknown but in addition to migraine, it is also associated with other heart conditions such as atrial septal defects and coronary artery disease. There is some thought that it may be genetic as it seems to run in some families.
What Is Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome?First of all, the mitral valve is in the heart and receives oxygenated blood directly from the lungs through the left atrium, the chamber above it. The contraction of the atrium causes the blood to be pushed through the valve into the left ventricle. Named after a bishop's mitre or hat, the valve has two leaves with muscles attached to it that assist in moving the blood by pulling the valve open.
The American Heart Association describes mitral valve prolapse as (when) one or both flaps (of the mitral valve) are enlarged and some of their supporting strings are too long. So, when the heart contracts or pumps, the mitral valve flaps do not close smoothly or evenly. Instead, part of one or both flaps collapse backward into the left atrium. This sometimes allows a small amount of blood to leak backward through the valve.
Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome SymptomsMitral valve prolapse is diagnosed by a doctor or practioner listening to your heart for specific sounds consistent with MVP. It also has characteristic markings on an EKG but diagnosis is confirmed with an echocardiogram, which is a sonogram of the heart.
The symptoms of mitral valve prolapse include:
- Shortness of breath on exertion
- Chest pain that comes and goes
- Unexplained fatigue
- anxiety and panic
- migraine headaches
The treatment for this condition is fairly straightforward. Here is full information about mitral valve diagnosis and treatment.
Although MVP is associated with migraine, see if you have other different types of headaches.
Finally, keep in mind that there are other cardiovascular conditions that could cause headache. The most common is the high blood pressure headache but headaches may also start just before, during or after stroke symptoms.
Mitral Valve Prolapse Diagnosis
Mitral valve prolapse diagnosis is based on clinical symptoms and the results of tests. Remember, up to 60% of men and women with mitral valve prolapse have no symptoms as the prolapse is so mild. But how do we make the diagnosis?
Finding A ProlapseFirst of all, a doctor will do a cardiac exam on you and listen for specific sounds through a stethoscope. The characteristic sound of an MVP is a "clicking" at the lower left sternal border. Just about where the tip of the heart is located is where the sound radiates to and is heard the loudest.
The clicking sound may be intensified by what is called a "valsava maneuver". This is where the doctor may ask you to push your hands together and bear down. This pushes a little more blood through the valve and makes the clicking louder.
If your doctor suspects a valve problem, he or she most probably will order an echocardiogram. This is a sonogram of the heart and is non-invasive. It takes only a few minutes to perform and can get a look at the heart while it is functioning. In this way, if there is a prolapse, it can be seen as there will be some regurtitation or back flow from the valve up in the atrium. An echocardiogram confirms a mitral valve prolapse diagnosis.
Treatment Of A Mitral Valve ProlapseTreatment depends on the severity of the regurtitation across the valve. If mild with few symptoms usually nothing is done. If moderate, with significant regurgitation, precautions should be taken. Some patients with mitral valve prolapse syndrome may be put on a blood thinner such as aspirin or even Plavix if the cardiologist thinks it is necessary. Antibiotics must be taken before invasive procedures, including dental work. The reason is to avoid a strep infection of the heart.
With severe problems, the left atrium may become enlarged due to chronic regurtitation. At this point, with symptoms of shortness of breath that is problematic, a valve replacement may be recommended.
Remember, although MVP is associated with migraine, see if you have other different types of headaches.