Mitral Valve Prolapse in Children

October 10, 2023
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Childhood is a time of growth and development, but sometimes, young hearts face challenges that require medical attention. One such condition is mitral valve prolapse (MVP). In this blog, we will explore what MVP is, its symptoms and causes, the diagnostic process, treatment options, and essential aspects of caring for a child with this heart condition.

What is mitral valve prolapse (MVP)?

Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a common heart valve disorder in which the two flaps (leaflets) of the heart’s mitral valve do not close properly. Instead of sealing tightly when the heart contracts, one or both leaflets bulge or prolapse back into the left atrium. This can lead to blood leaking backward into the left atrium, a condition known as mitral regurgitation.

Mitral Valve Prolapse Symptoms

MVP in children may be asymptomatic and discovered incidentally during routine check-ups or medical evaluations. However, when symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • Chest Pain: Children with MVP may experience chest discomfort or pain, which is typically not severe.
  • Fatigue: Unexplained tiredness or low energy levels can be a symptom of MVP.
  • Heart Palpitations: Some children may feel irregular heartbeats or a sensation of fluttering in the chest.
  • Dizziness or Fainting: MVP can occasionally lead to dizziness or fainting spells, especially during physical activity.
  • Murmur: A heart murmur detected by a healthcare provider during a physical examination can be a sign of MVP.

What causes mitral valve prolapse in children?

The exact cause of MVP is often unknown, but it may have a genetic component. It can sometimes be associated with other connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome.

Diagnosing Mitral Valve Prolapse

Diagnosing MVP in children typically involves the following steps:

  • Physical Examination: The healthcare provider may detect a heart murmur during a routine physical examination, prompting further evaluation.
  • Echocardiogram: This non-invasive test uses sound waves to create images of the heart’s structure and function, helping to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of MVP.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): An ECG measures the heart’s electrical activity and can detect any irregularities.
  • Holter Monitor: A Holter monitor records the heart’s electrical activity over an extended period, usually 24 hours, to evaluate for any rhythm abnormalities.

Mitral Valve Prolapse Treatment Options

Treatment for MVP in children depends on the severity of the condition and the presence of symptoms. Common approaches include:

  1. Lifestyle Management: Encourage your child to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Stress management techniques can also be helpful.
  2. Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to manage symptoms, such as beta-blockers to reduce palpitations and chest pain.
  3. Regular Follow-up: Regular check-ups with a pediatric cardiologist are crucial to monitor the condition’s progress and adjust the treatment plan if necessary.
  4. Surgery: In rare cases where severe mitral regurgitation occurs, surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve may be necessary.

Caring for a Child With Mitral Valve Prolapse

Caring for a child with MVP involves providing emotional support, monitoring their health, and ensuring they follow their treatment plan. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Open Communication: Maintain open and honest communication with your child about their condition and treatment. Encourage them to share any concerns or symptoms they experience.
  2. Regular Check-ups: Keep up with regular appointments with the pediatric cardiologist to assess your child’s heart health.
  3. Healthy Lifestyle: Encourage a heart-healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise while managing stress levels.
  4. Education: Educate yourself and your child about MVP, its treatment options, and the importance of adherence to medical advice.

Mitral valve prolapse is a manageable heart condition, and with proper care, children with MVP can lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Early diagnosis, regular monitoring, and a supportive environment are essential for ensuring your child’s well-being. Always consult healthcare professionals for guidance tailored to your child’s needs and circumstances.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care in Florida

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of skilled professionals at Care Options for Kids is here to help.

Our home health care services offer one-on-one care in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free Pediatric Consultation. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.

If you or a loved one are considering Pediatric Home Health Care Services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.