Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a fairly common cardiac disorder in which the mitral valve does not close properly, allowing blood to backflow into the left atrium. The mitral valve is comprised of two flaps of tissue that open and close in a rhythmic manner to keep the blood flowing in one direction—from upper to lower heart chambers.
When the mitral valve malfunctions, the tissue flaps may "billow" slightly into the upper chamber to prevent the valve from closing completely. A faint click or whooshing sound may be heard through a stethoscope, or a heart murmur may develop even though the heart is functioning normally.
It is estimated that 5 percent or more of the adult population of the United States have mitral valve prolapse, also known as Barlow's syndrome, floppy valve syndrome, and ballooning mitral valve syndrome. For most, the condition is harmless, requiring no lifestyle changes. Because of the absence of symptoms, many people are unaware of their condition. In some cases of MVP, however, the condition may eventually require treatment.
When symptoms are present they vary widely from person to person, are usually mild, and progress gradually. Common symptoms may include:
The FAA currently allows individuals with mitral valve prolapse, who are without symptoms, to continue flying and report the condition at their next FAA physical exam. Three months prior to the FAA exam, you should forward to the FAA:
When mitral valve prolapse occurs with symptoms, the FAA requires self-grounding until the symptoms are controlled. Three months prior to the first AME visit following your diagnosis, you should forward to the FAA a cardiovascular evaluation that includes:
Helps you find the contact information for submitting your medical records.
Updated October 27, 2009
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