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

Chrishan J. Nalliah, Rajiv Mahajan, Adrian D. Elliott, Haris Haqqani, Dennis H. Lau, Jitendra K. Vohra, Joseph B. Morton, Christopher Semsarian, Thomas Marwick, Jonathan M. Kalman, Prashanthan Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: 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.

Methods: 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).

Results: 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.

Conclusion: 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.

Trial registration: PROSPERO (CRD42018089502).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


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


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