Change Of Heart

A mitral-valve problem isn't as common--or as deadly--as your doctor might have told you

The drama begins with a noise you can't hear. Your doctor places a stethoscope over your chest and detects a faint murmur or a distinctive clicking sound whenever your heart contracts. "There may be something wrong with one of your valves," he says. "I'd like you to get some ultrasound tests." Seven days and several hundred dollars later, you learn you have mitral-valve prolapse, a condition in which the tiny flaps of tissue that keep blood from flowing backward between the chambers on the left side of the heart don't close completely. Even though you feel fine, your insurance company jacks...

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