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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Valvular Heart Diseases

Question: Mitral Prolapse Help, Odd test result

 Shelly S, RN - Mon Feb 14, 2005 8:10 am

Hi there,

I have a few questions for all the cardiac pros out there. :) Ok, brief history, I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse in 2002. I initally sought help when I kept having chest pain and was concerned. I saw a cardiologist who did an echo to rule out CAD due to a family history of CAD. A stress test was also preformed. All came back normal except for one odd finding. I remember when taking the stress test, I would look down at the pulse ox occassionally and it was in the 80's. Once the report came back on the stress test, that was addressed. I was sent for a pulmonary function test (normal) and a CT to rule out a pulmonary embolism (normal). So they kind of threw their hands up and said, 'Well, maybe the pulse ox was not secure, or it was bumped." I think he said this since the echo showed a normal heart with a mitral prolapse (with slight regurg) and the lung test were fine too. But....I just do not get why I get chest pain so often. Sometimes I wonder if it is actual angina and there is depleted O2 to part of my heart...if so, wouldn't that coincide with the pulse ox readings? When I am at work, I check my pulse ox "just to" and it is always 95+. I just want to know if chest pain that is frequent is typical of MPV. Also, when should I be concerned and get a second opinion?

Thanks in advance!
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:09 am

User avatar Dear Shelly,

i don't think that you have anything to be worried about.

Chest pain is a very frequent symptom among patients with mitral valve prolapse.

Regarding your oxygen saturation and the pulse oximetry problem, if you had saturations in the 80's during the test while you were exercising, this would have caused you to have severe shortness of breath and to stop exercise and require oxygen.

There is such a test as to test the oxygen saturation while exercising. If you want you can ask your doctor to have one to make sure that everything is ok. A portable pulse oximeter is placed on the finger as it is usually placed and then the patient walks around. The person monitoring the pulse oximeter has to make sure that the signal of the pulse oximeter is always a good signal, the signal i am referring to is the pulse signal. So, if there is no pulse signal or the pulse signal is distorted then the reading of the pulse oximeter is inaccurate.

Reason being is the pulse oximeter does not measure the oxygen saturation of the blood directly but detects pulsatile flow (which is assumed to be the blood passing through the arteries and arterioles) and then detects the wavelength of a certain color that passes through this one pulse and this is because hemoglobin which carries the oxygen is a pigment that has a color. So, this is a crude method of measuring the oxygen saturation in the blood but it is fairly reliable if the pulse is ok and the patient is not a female who let's say has red nail polish on or something that would preclude the detection of the wavelength of the color of hemoglobin.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.

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