Mitral stenosis – or mitral valve stenosis – is a disease in which the mitral valve is abnormal and blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle is restricted. This causes the left atrium to increase its pressure workload in order to send adequate blood to the left ventricle. This pressure overload is subsequently referred to the lungs, causing congestion in the lung vessels.
Also, the right ventricle is responsible for filling the left side of the heart, and this restriction and congestion may eventually cause the right ventricle to fail.
Mitral valve stenosis is usually caused by rheumatic heart disease, with patients having a history of rheumatic fever. For unknown reasons, the condition is more common in females.
Mitral Stenosis Symptoms
Symptoms of this heart valve stenosis include:
- Coughing up blood
- Fluid retention and swelling in the legs and abdomen (right-sided heart failure)
- Neck vein distension
- Shortness of breath on exertion, lying flat, or waking up (left-sided heart failure)
- Systemic embolization, or clot, forming in left atrium because of congestion
Mitral Stenosis Diagnosis
Your UT Southwestern Medical Center doctor will use several tests to determine the problem. Common diagnostic tests include:
- Cardiac catheterization
- To evaluate pressure gradient across the mitral valve
- Chest X-ray
- To evaluate pulmonary congestion and heart size
- To evaluate the mitral valve and ventricle function
- To evaluate heart rhythm, which may show atrial fibrillation, left atrial enlargement, or right ventricle hypertrophy
- Physical exam
- To listen via stethoscope for an opening snap or a diastolic rumble/murmur
Mitral Stenosis Treatment Options
Treatments for mitral stenosis include:
- Balloon valvuloplasty
- Can be used for long-term relief of mitral stenosis
- Diuretics to limit shortness of breath; digitalis for patients with atrial fibrillation; beta-blockers or verapamil for atrial fibrillation; anticoagulants to prevent clot formation
- Mitral commissurotomy
- For patients without severe calcium deposits on the valve
- Mitral valve replacement
- With severe diseases and if other options have failed
Request an Appointment
To schedule an appointment with a mitral stenosis expert at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.