Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is generally a benign condition characterized by the protrusion of the mitral valve leaflets into the left atrium during systole. The prevalence of MVP in individuals under the age of 18 years is estimated to be 5% but is higher in those with Marfan's syndrome and other collagen vascular disorders.1 A midsystolic nonejection click with or without a late systolic murmur is the auscultatory hallmark of this syndrome. The diagnosis of MVP in children and adolescents should be based primarily on auscultatory findings and not on minor echocardiographic findings.1
The prognosis in children and adolescents with isolated MVP appears to be excellent and complications are rare. In 553 children, aged 15 days to 18 years, who were involved in studies with a follow-up period of 6 to 9 years, the following were reported: subacute bacterial endocarditis (one case), cerebral vascular accidents (two cases), migraine headaches (four cases), and chest pain (12 cases).2,3 Only four cases of sudden death have been reported in patients younger than 20 years of age.1-4
In a study of 103 patients with MVP, 16% were found to have premature ventricular beats during exercise electrocardiography (ECG) (exercise test).3 Thirty-eight percent were found to have premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) on 24-hour ECG (Holter) monitoring. This study, however, does not report the true prevalence of dysrhythmias because all these subjects had been referred to a pediatric cardiologist for evaluation. It is likely that these reported numbers are high because asymptomatic patients are less often referred.
- Copyright © 1995 by the American Academy of Pediatrics