Cardiology

Mitral Valve Stenosis

MS VideoThe mitral valve is one of the four valves in the heart. This valve allows blood to enter into the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber) from the left atrium (the collecting chamber for blood coming from the lungs). Stenosis is a condition where the valve cannot open completely (becomes stiff), preventing normal blood flow across the valve.

  • Mitral Valve Stenosis is caused either by thickening related to previous rheumatic fever, or age-related “wear and tear”. It can be closely associated with atrial fibrillation, especially as the stiffness of the valve progresses.

Symptoms

Initially patients are asymptomatic. When the valve becomes more significantly narrowed, the most common symptoms are:

  • Shortness of breath with exertion, or when laying down flat at night
  • Leg swelling
  • Chest pain

Diagnostic Tests

  • Listening with a stethoscope (auscultation by a physician)
  • Echocardiogram

Treatment

  • Medications to treat symptoms (diuretics) and control heart rate (beta blockers)
  • In certain cases, we can use a balloon to “stretch out” the valve and improve the opening
  • In many cases, surgical valve replacement can be required

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