Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you think you have mitral valve prolapse, make an appointment to see your doctor. Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to mitral valve prolapse.
- Write down key personal information, including a family history of heart disease, heart defects, genetic disorders, stroke, high blood pressure or diabetes, and any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Be prepared to discuss your diet and exercise habits. If you don't already follow a diet or exercise routine, be ready to talk to your doctor about any challenges you might face in getting started.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For mitral valve prolapse, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests will I need?
- Do I need treatment? What kind?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- If I need surgery, which surgeon do you recommend for mitral valve repair?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing for me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
- In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Sorrentino MJ. Definition and diagnosis of mitral valve prolapse. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 28, 2011.
- Mitral valve and mitral valve prolapse. American Heart Association. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4717. Accessed Jan. 31, 2011.
- Mitral valve prolapse. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/mvp/mvp_all.html. Accessed Jan. 31, 2011.
- Taub CC, et al. Mitral valve prolapse in Marfan syndrome: An old topic revisited. Echocardiography. 2008;e[#]. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121536695/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0. Accessed Jan. 28, 2011.
- Sorrentino MJ. Arrhythmic complications of mitral valve prolapse. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 28, 2011.
- Sorrentino MJ. Nonarrhythmic complications of mitral valve prolapse. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 28, 2011.
- Nishimura RA. ACC/AHA guideline update on valvular heart disease: Focused update on infective endocarditis. Circulation. 2008;118:887.