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MITRAL VALVE STENOSIS

Mitral Valve Stenosis

The human heart includes four valves namely pulmonary valve, mitral valve, aortic valve and tricuspid valve. The four valves act as one-way valves through which blood flows from one chamber to the other, and outside the heart. Mitral stenosis is a condition that affects the mitral valve. Here you can read about risks, causes, symptoms and treatment of mitral valve.

What is mitral stenosis?

Mitral valve stenosis or mitral stenosis is basically the narrowing down of the mitral valve. Mitral stenosis reduces the blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle. The volume of blood bringing oxygen from the lungs will be reduced causing discomfort and shortness of breath. Also it leads to extra blood in the left atrium resulting in its enlargement and fluid formation.

Mitral stenosis decreases the blood flow in the heart. It can lead to a number of complications including:

  • Heart failure
  • Enlargement of heart: The extra pressure in the mitral valve creates pressure leading to failure
  • Pulmonary hypertension: High blood pressure in the arteries to the lungs. The heart will have to overwork leading to a failure.
  • Atrial Fibrillation: It is irregular or rapid heartbeat leading to blood clot, stroke, heart failure etc. 
  • Pulmonary Edema: A condition caused by excess fluid in the lungs. 

Causes of mitral stenosis
Mitral stenosis is commonly seen in patients with rheumatic fever, an infection in the strep throat. Rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disorder, is considered to be the main reason for mitral stenosis. Other causes include:

  • Aging: Calcium deposits around the mitral valve leads to mitral stenosis.
  • Congenital heart defects: Babies may be born with narrowed mitral valve.  
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Radiation treatments
  • Blood clots

Symptoms of mitral stenosis may not be visible for years. However, the symptoms may appear when there is a difference in the heartbeat like during exercise, physical exertion etc. Conditions like pregnancy, high stress, etc also may push the symptoms. Here are the symptoms of mitral stenosis:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heavy cough 
  • Heart Palpitations 
  • Severe headache 
  • Fatigue & dizziness  
  • Swelling in legs and feet  

Is mitral valve stenosis curable?
Mitral stenosis is diagnosed with the help of physical examination, electrocardiogram, x-ray of the chest, transesophageal echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization etc.
Treatment for mitral valve stenosis largely depends on the severity of the condition and the symptoms. If it is mild stenosis, treatment may not be necessary.
Medication used: Your doctor may advise you to take anticoagulants, diuretics, antiarrhythmics, beta blockers etc.
Valvuloplasty: Your doctor may suggest mitral balloon valvuloplasty. A narrow tube called catheter with a balloon is inserted into the blood vessel. The doctor inflates the balloon to expand the valve. The procedure may be repeated more than once.
Surgery: At later stages, a cardiac surgery for mitral valve repair or mitral valve replacement is advised depending on the condition of the valve. The diseased mitral valve is replaced by a mechanical or biological valve in mitral replacement surgery.



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