Cause of pain:In mitral valve prolapse (MVP), abnormalities of the mitral valve cause it to flop backwards into the left atrium as the left ventricle contracts. This flopping, or prolapse, is occasionally perceived as a form of chest pain.
Characteristics of pain:There is controversy as to how often MVP actually causes chest pain - it probably does so far less often than is alleged. When MVP does cause chest pain, the pain is most often described as a "catching" discomfort, and is often positional in nature (i.e., it may occur, for instance, only when the patient is lying on the left side.)
Evaluation:The evaluation of MVP consists of listening to the heart through the stethoscope and doing an echocardiogram.
MVP is an often-misunderstood cardiac condition. You can read all about MVP here.
Devereux RB, Kramer-Fox R, Brown WT, et al. Relation between clinical features of the mitral prolapse syndrome and echocardiographically documented mitral valve prolapse. J Am Coll Cardiol 1986; 8:763.