Health A-Z

Mitral Valve Stenosis

Clinical Definition

Mitral valve stenosis is a narrowing of the mitral valve orifice, impeding the filling of the left ventricle. Rheumatic heart disease is typically the cause, but the stenosis can also be linked to calcifications, infection, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or heart disease. Those affected may have abnormal heart rhythms, chest pain and fatigue. Treatment options include medicine to relieve lung congestion, abnormal heart rhythms and valve replacement surgery.

In Our Own Words

Mitral valve stenosis is a narrowing of the heart’s mitral valve, which controls the one-way flow of blood from the heart’s left atrium (i.e., an upper chamber) to its left ventricle (i.e., a lower chamber that pumps blood to the rest of the body). As the valve narrows, it affects the filling of the left ventricle. Most often, rheumatic heart disease is the cause, but many other conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, can also cause it.

Usually, there are no symptoms until a person has had an affected valve for years. The only symptom at times is breathing discomfort (i.e., dyspnea); other symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness, chest pain and heart rhythm problems. The condition is diagnosed by physical exam, echocardiography (i.e., sound wave exams) and other methods. Medical interventions include the management of heart failure, prevention of thromboembolism and correction of abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation. If surgery is needed, the valve may be replaced or repaired.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Breathing discomfort (dyspnea)
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Dizziness
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