41-year-old white woman arrived at Uchee Pines Institute in a wheelchair.
She had had increasingly severe chest pains, palpitations, shortness of
breath, fatigue, and anxiety over the previous 18 months.
Her pulse was 96 at rest; BP normal; heart normal (no murmur), but she
did have a characteristic “systolic click” sound.
Electrocardiogram was normal; echocardiogram confirmed MVP.
Several days were spent in reassurance and tapering off medications.
She was given hawthorn berry tea, Epsom salts, and catnip tea as needed
through the day for anxiety; hops and catnip tea allowed her to sleep without
medication. She began a graduated
walking program with her Lifestyle Counselor at her side for reassurance.
Each day she went further and gained confidence.
By the end of the third week she was walking 6-8 miles a day and was
almost totally asymptomatic. She
donated her wheelchair to the Institute and returned home with no further
is now agreed to be the most common valvular disorder was not even recognized
until around the early 1970’s. The
advent of echocardiography, which for the first time allowed the cardiologist to
see what was going on inside the heart in real time, allowed the diagnosis of
mitral valve prolapse. It involved
between 25 and 30% of all women in the U.S., most being diagnosed in the 25-35
age group. It is a strange
disorder, generally quite benign, but fraught with much mystique.
Bondelais, writing in the
American Heart Journal of October, 1989, proposes that it be divided into
two groups: the first he calls the Anatomic group, and the second he would call
the Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome group.
anatomic group is older, with an average age of 76 years; 85% were over 50 years
of age when symptoms developed. This
group had much more sever symptoms, with more severe valvular involvement.
Eighty-five percent had had congestive heart failure, and 58% had atrial
fibrillation, and erratic “quivering” arrhythmia of the upper heart
chambers. Eighty-five percent of
these patients required valve surgery. Fortunately,
this group is much less common than the other.
“Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) Syndrome” is said to be characterized by a
symptom complex of palpitations, chest pains, easy fatigue, exercise
intolerance, shortness of breath, easy fainting, anxiety, and predisposition to
panic attacks. The average age was
30 years. The symptoms, which can
cause extreme anxiety in some, can
be disabling, even though the disorder is generally quite benign.
There is evidence of increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system
with increased levels of stress hormones (catecholamines) in the blood and
cause of the symptoms are poorly understood.
The chest pain may be due to stretching of the chordi tendoni (“heart
strings”) which anchor the mitral valve to the interior wall of the heart.
It is usually described as a dull aching beneath the breast bone and
under the left breast, with much anxiety. It
can last for hours and is not aggravated by exercise, in contradistinction to
angina, which comes on after exercise and emotional upsets, and usually lasts
only a short time after resting.
of the latter group, which are much more common than the former, involves a
great deal of support and reassurance. Patients
may become “cardiac cripples” if not handled properly.
It is common for cardiologists to give strong medication, such as the
so-called “beta blockers,” examples being propranolol or atenolol; and
antiarrhythmic drugs to these patients. While
the beta blockers slow the heart and often give a measure of relief, they should
not be used in most cases. In fact,
it is well to avoid the pharmacological treatment of the MVP Syndrome.
Beside frequent reassurances, graduated exercise out of doors is an
excellent method of physiological dissipation of the excess catecholamines.
The resting pulse is slowed naturally, chest pains melt away, and anxiety
and fatigue are relieved.
anything is needed for the palpitations, some simple herbs such as hawthorn
berry tea, are very helpful. Since
most of these patients have a total body deficiency of magnesium, for unknown
reasons, supplementation with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate, one teaspoonful in
a glass of water twice daily); or magnesium chloride or oxide tablets, two
tablets three times a day, are also quite helpful. These seldom need to be
continued very long if the patient will embark on a serious exercise program.
We do not use prophylactic antibiotics before dental manipulation for
these patients, as they are prone to develop the Candida Related Complex
(chronic yeast syndrome). In fact,
one study of candida patients showed over 60% with MVP.
Return To Counseling Sheets
Disclaimer: The above counseling sheet
is provided courtesy of the Uchee Pines
Health Institute. The Uchee Pines Institute was started almost 30 years ago
by Calvin Thrash, M.D., specialist in Internal Medicine, and his wife, Agatha
Thrash, M.D., board specialist in pathology. It is a non-profit, health
educational and treatment facility located in the country near Seale, Alabama,
15 miles from Columbus, Georgia. (Address: Uchee Pines Institute, 30
Uchee Pines Road
Seale, Alabama 36875-5702. Phone: (334) 855-4764. Fax: (334) 855-4780. Email: email@example.com. Location Map: Click Here). The information contained in the counseling sheets is presented as a general educational and information guide. The counseling sheets are not intended to be used for instruction in medical treatment. The author cannot assume the medical or legal responsibility of having this information misinterpreted and considered as a prescription for any condition or any person.