Sunday, October 14, 2007

Runner's Death Puts Mitral Valve Prolapse in the Spotlight

A 35-year-old Michigan police officer, Chad Schieber, collapsed and died around the 19 mile mark of last Sunday's Chicago Marathon. An autopsy showed he died of mitral valve prolapse (MVP), the medical examiner said. So what is mitral valve prolapse?

The mitral valve is a valve between the heart's two left-hand chambers, the left atrium (upper chamber) and the left ventricle (lower chamber). Mitral valve prolapse occurs when the flap-like parts of the valve, called leaflets, bulge (prolapse) and the opening between the two chambers doesn't close properly.

According to the Mayo Clinic's Web site,, mitral valve prolapse affects just over 2 percent of adult in the U.S., and for most of them it doesn't cause any problems. In many cases a person may not even know he or she has MVP unless a cardiologist diagnoses it during an exam.

For other people mitral valve prolapse can cause a range of symptoms, some minor and some serious.

The article from the Mayo Clinic provides reliable details on mitral valve prolapse: signs and symptoms, causes, when to see a doctor, diagnosis, complications, treatment, and more.

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