Schiavone WA. Straight back syndrome as a clue to diagnosing asymptomatic congenital valvular heart disease and limiting the risk of weightlifting. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2021;121(2):135–140. doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/jom-2020-0046.
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Although both are initially asymptomatic, mitral valve prolapse/myxomatous mitral valve disease (MVP/MMVD) and bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), with its associated aortic disease, are currently the two most common congenital valvular heart diseases. Severe mitral regurgitation due to rupture of chordae tendineae (CTR) prompts surgery for MVP/MMVD. Surgery for BAV is performed for severe aortic stenosis and/or regurgitation, often with management of root and/or ascending aortic enlargement. There may be an association between straight back syndrome (SBS) and MVP/MMVD, which may be a key to earlier diagnosis. Other associations link weightlifting with ascending aortic enlargement and with CTR, where the common theme is blood pressure elevation. As the number of people with fitness center memberships continues to increase, this potentially exposes more undiagnosed individuals with MVP/MMVD or BAV to risk from weightlifting. Challenges include making the public aware of this risk and preparing the osteopathic physician to recognize patients at risk through a structured history-taking and targeted cardiovascular examination.
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