Of 2D Echocardiograms and Mitral Valve Prolapse

Have you been diagnosed as having mitral valve prolapse (MVP)? If your answer is yes, chances are you may have had to go for a 2D echocardiogram every now and then.

MVP is a congenital condition where a valve in your heart does not close properly. It is a common heart disorder and the patient may have certain symptoms or can also be asymptomatic like me.

I was diagnosed to have MVP way back in the 1980s (I don't remember exactly when now.). Doctors listening to my heart, will most likely hear a click or will probably hear something different.

I have never been bothered by MVP, except for one occasion wherein I got quite upset with a person that I was talking to. My chest started to feel heavy and my right arm felt different. I went to see a cardiologist sometime after and I was told that these symptoms may be due to my MVP. I was then advised to control my anger and to avoid highly stressful situations.

I don't take any medication for my MVP although the cardio that I was seeing then mentioned that some MVP patients take regular medication because they are bothered by symptoms like palpitations, fatigue, etc. I am also constantly warned to let my dentist know prior to possible dental surgery that I do have MVP so that safeguards can be taken to prevent the risk of possible heart infection. I likewise had to warn my OB Gyne regarding this during my pregnancies and prior to delivery.

When you have MVP, you will be asked to go for a 2D echocardiogram every now and then. The 2D echo is an ultrasound evaluation of your heart.

In my case, I was told to have one every 2 to 3 years just to ensure that the condition of my heart is not changing or deteriorating.

The doctor also advised me to do this until I was 50 years old after which he said: "Puwede mo nang itigil yang kaka 2D echo mo." (You can stop going for a 2D echo.) I thought that was the case since 50 might not be that young an age to die anymore but the doctor explained by saying that if my condition had not changed until about the age of 50, it is likely that it has stabilized and will no longer deteriorate. He also stated that it is highly unlikely for such a condition to change for the better. It either remains the same or deteriorates.

I just went for a 2D echo a few days ago -- in keeping with the 2 to 3 years timetable. There has been no significant change since the last time so am thankful.

If you are looking for a hospital to do your 2D echo, here are some information that you may need:

1. Cardinal Santos Hospital: Located at Wilson St., Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. You may reach them at 727-0001 local 4212/4213. A 2D echo with Doppler will cost you P3,136.35. Results will be out after two working days (Saturdays are counted as working days) and you may pick these up from 1 to 4pm. I went for my 2D echo last Friday and picked up the results today, Monday, October 1.

2. Medical City: You may reach them at 635-6789 and ask to be connected to the relevant department or section. A 2D echo with Doppler will cost you P5,120. If you go on a Friday, the person on the phone mentioned that results will be out Tuesday the next week.

You will need to set an appointment with both hospitals. What determines the difference in price? I think it depends on who does the procedure.

In the case of my recent 2D echo with Cardinal Santos, they were prompt and all went well. There have also been changes -- like they ask you to look up and bring the contraption some distance from your throat. They also bring it closer to your tummy and this can be quite uncomfortable, with a little pain, because of the pressure that is exerted. Still, I tolerate the procedure better now and it isn't as uncomfortable as it was before.

Well, if you've got MVP and even if you don't have it, please take steps to take care of your heart. It's the only one you've got.

[By Angelica Viloria | Monday, October 1, 2007]

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