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Mitral Valve Prolapse
by Dr. Bruce West
Health Alert, September 1999
From our book Bypassing Bypass, published in 2002


It’s been close to 25 years since I first told a terrified patient that mitral valve prolapse (MVP) was a non-disease. Unfortunately, over the years I was able to offer little consolation to thousands of patients who were scared senseless by their cardiologist with a diagnosis of mitral valve prolapse. After all, the mitral valve allows oxygenated blood into the heart’s main chamber. And if the valve doesn’t work, that must be bad, right?

If the valve is truly defective (not just ‘prolapsed’), it is serious. Unfortunately, doctors have mistaken a ‘differently shaped’ mitral valve as a disease in itself. And this is where the non-disease comes in. In simple terms, a mitral valve that appears prolapsed is usually normal. It still is not clear to experts why some mitral valves appear prolapsed and allow some blood leakage backwards. I have an answer for that phenomenon, but the important point is that the disease is a non-disease.

When people come to me literally scared to death about mitral valve prolapse, I universally do the same thing-optimize the heart’s muscular pumping action and then request another test to re-evaluate the valve. When the heart muscle is weak and the pumping or output capacity is poor, all of the heart’s valves may be functioning valves often turn out to be nothing more than a symptom of a weak heart muscle.

For example, imagine a body-builder squeezing a saturated sponge tightly and completely. Then imagine an older person with arthritis of the hands squeezing the same saturated sponge. In the second instance, do you think there would still be some leakage of fluid from the sponge? A similar phenomenon occurs with the heart muscle and the blood in the heart.

Remarkably, once the heart muscle is brought back to optimum strength and cardiac output, the valve prolapse or ‘disease’ of other types often simply disappears. It is amazing when a patient who has been given a ‘death sentence’ by their doctor turns out to be normal. And this is the latest thing in the news today from the wonderful world of medicine-all those dire diagnosises of mitral valve prolapse have horrified patients for no reason. It is a non-disease according to the latest issue [Aug 1999] of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Heart Valve Defect Is Not As Dangerous As Previously Thought

That was the heading from an Associated Press release discussing the findings about mitral valve prolapse. Except for discussing some of the underlying causes of valve problems (which medicine has yet to discover), the latest medical research on valves sounds like one of my consultations with a patient 20 years ago. Researchers stated that the millions of Americans who have been told they have a serious and sometimes fatal heart defect called mitral valve prolapse probably have nothing to fear. Whew! Now there’s quite a switch.

They went on to say that the condition, long considered a hidden epidemic afflicting five to 30% of Americans, is far less dangerous-and less common-than doctors believed. Doctors routinely recommended surgery for MVP, telling patients it was the only way to prevent complications that can cause sudden death. They went on to scare patients into unnecessary procedures by stating that MVP, which often has no symptoms, can cause complications like heart failure, stroke, arrhythmias, fainting, and more.

The real kicker is that my ideas on MVP were universally condemned as quackery. This went on as thousands of people were subjected to unnecessary open heart surgery. How many were killed I do not know. And all this to cure a disease that wasn’t there. When researchers compared people with MVP to those without, they could find no statistical difference in the numbers of supposed MVP complications like heart attacks, strokes, etc., etc.

The immediate question that needs to be asked is why? The answer offered is that cardiologists claimed to have no standard criteria by which valves were evaluated as normal or abnormal. They wrongly believed that normal valves were abnormal. And so it goes. This startling reversal in today’s modern cardiac care can be grouped in with the other latest reversals like: Eggs are now OK. Low-fat diets are not universally good. Blood pressure drugs can create terminal heart failure. Blood pressure drugs can create kidney problems. And on and on.

What to Do

If you have a diagnosis of MVP or any valve problem (including sclerosis), be sure to bring your cardiac muscle output up to optimum and then have another examination with a second-opinion cardiologist. You can bring your cardiac output up to optimum by taking Cardio-Plus and Cataplex B (both from Standard Process Labs) at a dose of three, three times daily with meals for 45 to 60 days. If you have been walking around for years scared silly about your deadly mitral valve prolapse ‘disease,’ forget it. You are now officially released from your death sentence.

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