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Heart. 2019 Jan;105(2):144-151. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2017-312932. Epub 2018 Sep 21.

Mitral valve prolapse and sudden cardiac death: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Adelaide and Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
Department of Cardiology, Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside, Queensland, Australia.
Department of Cardiology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the Centenary Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is commonly observed as a benign finding. However, the literature suggests that it may be associated with sudden cardiac death (SCD). We performed a meta-analysis and systematic review to determine the: (1) prevalence of MVP in the general population; (2) prevalence of MVP in all SCD and unexplained SCD; (3) incidence of SCD in MVP and (4) risk factors for SCD.


The English medical literature was searched for: (1) MVP community prevalence; (2) MVP prevalence in SCD cohorts; (3) incidence SCD in MVP and (4) SCD risk factors in MVP. Thirty-four studies were identified for inclusion. This study was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42018089502).


The prevalence of MVP was 1.2% (95% CI 0.5 to 2.0) in community populations. Among SCD victims, the cause of death remained undetermined in 22.1% (95% CI 13.4 to 30.7); of these, MVP was observed in 11.7% (95% CI 5.8 to 19.1). The incidence of SCD in the MVP population was 0.14% (95% CI 0.1 to 0.3) per year. Potential risk factors for SCD include bileaflet prolapse, ventricular fibrosis complex ventricular ectopy and ST-T wave abnormalities.


The high prevalence of MVP in cohorts of unexplained SCD despite low population prevalence provides indirect evidence of an association of MVP with SCD. The absolute number of people exposed to the risk of SCD is significant, although the incidence of life-threatening arrhythmic events in the general MVP population remains low. High-risk features include bileaflet prolapse, ventricular fibrosis, ST-T wave abnormalities and frequent complex ventricular ectopy.


PROSPERO (CRD42018089502).


cardiac arrest; echocardiography; implanted cardiac defibrillators; premature ventricular beats; ventricular fibrillation

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: JMK reports having received research funding from St Jude Medical, Biosense-Webster, Medtronic and Boston Scientific. Dr Sanders reports having served on the advisory board of Biosense-Webster, Medtronic, CathRx and St Jude Medical. PS reports having received lecture and/or consulting fees from Biosense-Webster, Medtronic, St Jude Medical, and Boston Scientific. PS reports having received research funding from Medtronic, St Jude Medical, Boston Scientific, Biotronik and Sorin.

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