Michelle Badash, MS
Mitral stenosis is a narrowing of the mitral valve in the heart. This valve is located between the upper chamber and the lower pumping chamber of the left side of the heart. Blood must flow from the atrium, through the mitral valve, and into the ventricle before being pumped out into the rest of the body. Mitral stenosis results in poor blood flow between the two left chambers, so not enough blood and oxygen is pumped throughout the body.
The most common cause of mitral stenosis is
rheumatic fever, which scars the mitral valve. A less common cause is a congenital defect, usually part of a complex of multiple heart defects present at birth. Very rare causes include infectious endocarditis, blood clots, tumors, or other growths that block blood flow through the mitral valve.
The main risk factor for mitral stenosis is rheumatic fever. Other factors that increase your risk of mitral valve stenosis include:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may be alerted to mitral stenosis by the following:
Images may be taken of your chest. This can be done with:
Your heart activity may need to be monitored. This can be done with:
If you have mild mitral stenosis, your condition will need to be monitored, but may not need immediate treatment for symptoms associated with mitral stenosis. When symptoms become more severe, you may need to limit exertion and avoid high-salt foods. In addition, treatments may include:
Drugs may be prescribed to treat specific symptoms associated with mitral stenosis. These medications include:
You may also need to take antibiotics when you have certain infections. This will help prevent further damage to your heart.
Common types of heart valve surgery include:
If you are diagnosed with mitral stenosis, follow your doctor's
Most cases of mitral stenosis can be avoided by preventing rheumatic fever:
In addition, there are several things you can do to try to avoid some of the complications of mitral stenosis:
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Premedication (antibiotics). American Dental Association's Mouth Healthy website. Available at:
http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/p/Premedication-or-Antibiotics.aspx. Updated May 9, 2013.
Infective endocarditis. American Heart Association website. Available at:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/TheImpactofCongenitalHeartDefects/Infective-Endocarditis_UCM_307108_Article.jsp. Updated April 12, 2013. Accessed May 9, 2013.
Fauci AS, Braunwald E, et al.
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2000.
Mitral stenosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 16, 2012. Accessed May 9, 2013.
and Wahba H. Valvular heart disease: review and update.
Am Fam Physician. 20011;63:2201.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Michael J. Fucci, DO;
Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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