Mitral Stenosis

Mitral stenosis is a disease that causes narrowing or obstruction of the mitral valve. This, in turn, prevents the valve from opening properly and obstructing blood flow between the left atrium and the left ventricle. Since the left ventricle is the main pumping chamber of the heart, mitral stenosis can reduce the amount of blood supplied to the body. This can result in pulmonary edema—accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

In some cases, mitral stenosis boasts no symptoms. If symptoms do appear, they may worsen with exercise.

Symptoms may include:

•    Difficulty breathing
•    Coughing
•    Blood in the sputum
•    Fatigue
•    Frequent respiratory infections
•    Chest pain radiating to the arm, neck, or jaw
•    Heart palpitations
•    Swelling of the feet or ankles

The most common cause of mitral stenosis is rheumatic fever, which causes damage to heart valves. However, Mitral stenosis can be caused by other conditions that affect the mitral valve, as well.

If the symptoms are mild or nonexistent, treatment may not be necessary. If symptoms are severe, hospitalization may be necessary. In most cases, medications are prescribed to treat the disease. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary.

For additional questions about mitral stenosis, see your doctor.