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The mitral valve separates the left atrium from the left ventricle. With mitral valve prolapse (sometimes called “floppy valve syndrome”), the leaflets of the mitral valve are abnormal and bulge back into the left atrium near the end of the heartbeat. Mitral valve prolapse is fairly common in children and often causes no symptoms.
Most children don’t need treatment for mitral valve prolapse. Some need medication to help the heart pump blood out to the body or address an irregular heartbeat. Surgery to repair a leaking mitral valve as a result of prolapse is rare.
Your child’s doctor likely will be alerted to the diagnosis of mitral valve prolapse by hearing a click or murmur when listening to your child’s heart during a routine exam. An echocardiogram and electrocardiogram will confirm the diagnosis.
The board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric cardiologists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, can conduct more extensive tests to distinguish a murmur caused by mitral valve prolapse from those caused by more serious heart conditions.
Norton Children’s Heart Institute is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana.
Norton Children’s Heart Institute has a network of remote diagnostic and treatment services in Kentucky and Southern Indiana..
The degree of leakage from the mitral valve will determine how the pediatric cardiologist will want to treat your child’s mitral valve prolapse. If the leakage is mild, the pediatric cardiologist may have your child take a medication that makes it easier for the heart to move blood forward and possibly a diuretic (water pill) that helps remove salt and water from the body.
Your child will have repeat echocardiograms so the pediatric cardiologist can continue to watch how the prolapse and leakage change over time. In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the abnormal valve, or even replace the valve if it cannot be repaired.