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Forum Name: Valvular Heart Diseases

Question: Mitral Valve Prolapse


 oneme - Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:59 am

I am a 24 yr old female and was diagnosed with mild MVP back in 2001/2002. I am moderately active and weigh about 135-140lbs and about 5'9-5'10.
When I was younger (middle and high school) I use to have frequent chest pains. I do not have them as often but they range from sharp pains, sharp pains that run from my chest to back and left arm, dull to moderate constant pain, and dull pains when I breathe. The worst was in 2001 when I experienced a lot of chest pains combined with vertigo, and feelings of fainting.
Typically, the pain will come and go, but will not last extended periods of time. Currently, for the past 3-4 days, I have had constant chest pains. Starting on Thursday and really painful to now, where it is not constant but periodically have pain in my chest, lung, and arm. Again, while it is not typical, pains lasting over an extended time period has happened. This time I can say that my chest pain started after (while) I smoked marijuana. I haven't smoked in about 2 years, and that may have been the 5th time since I started smoking about 3 months ago.
I haven't found much on the effects of marijuana and MVP.
I also, I have not been able to find that much about MVP except for general information.
Any information would be appreciated.
Thank you.
 oneme - Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:13 am

The only medication that I am taking is ortho tri-cyclen lo.
Does prolonged birth cotnrol use cause problems? Should I take a break for a month or 2 every year?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:02 pm

User avatar Hello - Well, you do sound like a classic MVP person! That doesn't mean you are, but it's a good possibility and one worth exploring. It is easy to do and can help ease one's mind a great deal. I'd bring the chest pain issue to the attention of a doctor directly, since significant pain in any area, and especially the chest, warrants a look, even though yours does not sounds especially like coronary artery-related pain. It does sound a lot like what many MVP patients experience, but it also could be any number of other things. The main thing is it is pain, and who needs that?

While marijuana smoking often triggers "first time" symptoms which persist later, it is usually not the actual cause of them. On the other hand, if you're taking birth control pills and are having chest pains, it is well worth a trip to the doctor's office, just to rule out anything worrisome, since these hormones can predispose to any number of problems. Yours don't, on the surface, sound serious, but the do warrant an exam. You'll feel better knowing nothing is wrong, or if there is something you'll feel better knowing you've acted on it. (Odds are great it is nothing, but that's impossible to know at a distance).

As for MVP, I'm surprised you haven't been able to find much info on it, but I'll be happy to give you a crash course right here: MVP is one of the most common conditions in the general population and is believed to be 5 to 10 times more common in women than men, but that may be just because men are such great deniers and ignorers of stuff. At any rate, it is very common and almost always benign. However, the symptoms and sensations can often be so unnerving that the end result is a lot of anxiety which, in and of itself, can be "lifestyle threatening." People begin to limit their activities out of concern that they may have a "heart problem" and so become more and more focused on vague symptoms and at the same time become less active and so more out of shape, resulting in reduced exercise tolerance, which only serves to convince them there is something "wrong" with them.

The actual phenomenon of MVP is often no more than what is called redundant mitral leaflet. One or both mitral valve leaflets is a tiny bit longer than it should be, and so bulges slightly when in the closed position. The failure to close neatley can cause a classic "click" murmur which can come and go and is not always found. Echocardiography can usually, but not always, demonstrate mild MVP in many otherwise "normal" persons.It is, in fact, so common as to often be called "a variant of normal." It is, though, often accompanied by other, seemingly unconnected symptoms including migraine, optical migraine, anxiety or panic attacks, depersonalization, episodes of lightheadedness, dizziness, sharp chest pains in the vicinity of the left breast (almost never indicative of actual heart disease), and a host of other annoying and disturbing, but ultimately harmless symptoms. All this, hopefully, helps the person with MVP to cope better with the crazy-making stuff that sometimes happens. And no, we do not know what the connection is with a lot of these things, but it's been observed so often over the years that even when actual MVP cannot be proven (and you may, in the future, be told you don''t have it) there is still a Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome, also known as dysautonomia, which means misbehavior of the autonomic nervous system. Much of this can be managed by working on the anxiety aspect, staying fit even when it seems counter-intuitive, drinking adequate fluids, and knowing that the condition is almost always benign.

You are in very good company. I would, however, be sure to bring the matter of the chest pain issue to the attention of your doctor promptly, as pain does serve a function (to let us know something isn't right) and also it hurts!

Good luck to you and please do stay in touch.

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