Mitral Stenosis

Mitral stenosis refers to a mitral valve that is narrowed or does not open completely, and therefore obstructs blood from moving through it normally. Relatively uncommon, mitral valve stenosis usually results from calcification and is most common in individuals who had rheumatic heart disease as children.

Symptoms of Mitral Stenosis

Patients with mitral stenosis may experience symptoms including:

  • Shortness of breath when exercising
  • Fatigue
  • Atrial arrhythmias
  • Blood clots
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Heart failure

Some patients may be asymptomatic and unaware of having mitral stenosis until they engage in exercise, become pregnant, suffer great stress, have a serious infection, or experience another significant stressor that causes symptoms to manifest. 

Causes of Mitral Stenosis

The most common cause of mitral stenosis is rheumatic heart disease, but it may be caused by severe calcification, infective endocarditis, carcinoid heart disease, or autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosing Mitral Stenosis

In many cases, people can have a diseased heart valve for many years without suffering any symptoms or even being aware of the problem. Diseased valves can be detected by murmurs or other unusual sounds heard through a stethoscope. Ultrasound examination of the heart, also called echocardiography, in which sound waves are used to map internal structures, is also helpful. The most precise diagnosis is made by cardiac catheterization and angiocardiography. Depending upon the type of valvular problem, patients often can go for many years without any special treatment.

Echocardiogram (ECHO)

A sound wave picture of the heart that gives information about the heart valves and the function of the muscular walls of the heart.

Echocardiography Laboratory

This diagnostic laboratory houses the region's only computerized, digital equipment for three-dimensional rest and exercise echocardiography ('stress echo'), which allows stress echo results to be transmitted to any site on earth for instantaneous peer consultation. In addition, the pediatric echocardiography laboratory specializes in fetal sonography and the diagnosis of congenital heart disease.

After performing a full diagnostic battery, our specialists will then make recommendations about treatment options.

Treatment of Mitral Stenosis

Mitral stenosis may require treatment by mitral valve repair or replacement.