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Mitral Stenosis

more about Mitral Stenosis


  • The mitral valve, one of four heart valves separating the chambers (cavities) of the heart, has a set of flaps that open and close, allowing the blood to flow from the upper chamber (left atrium) to the lower chamber (left ventricle).
  • This valve can be damaged or diseased.  In Mitral Stenosis (MS), it cannot open completely (stenosis), forcing the blood to flow through a narrowed opening, and causing many problems for the pumping heart, such as Heart Failure, enlargement of the left atrium, and the back up of blood into the lungs.

    1. Shortness of breath with activities such as climbing stairs 
    2. Shortness of breath when lying prone (flat), requiring use of 2-4 pillows to sleep
    3. Suddenly waking up at night with shortness of breath

  • History of Rheumatic Fever and other medical problems

  • On physical examination, one can hear the abnormal flow across the narrowed valve (murmur), as well as the sound of the stenotic valve opening.
  • The sound of fluids in the lungs
  • The pulse may indicate atrial fibrillation
  • Chest X-Rays may show Fluid in the Lungs and an enlarged heart.
  • EKG (Electrocardiogram), which reveals the electrical impulses of the heart, may show atrial fibrillation and an enlarged heart (atrium and ventricle).
  • Echocardiograph uses sound waves to visualize the heart, valve, and the flow across.
  • Cardiac catheterization is done by injecting a dye into the femoral vein (in the groin area), providing valuable information about the heart.  This is done in the hospital by a heart specialist (cardiologist).

  • Prosthetic (artificial) valves
  • Untreated Rheumatic Fever, common in poor countries with no access to proper antibiotics

  • Symptomatic treatments include:

    1. Diuretic medications such as Lasix given if there is fluid buildup in the body
    2. Digitalis and other medications can normalize the heart rate as in atrial fibrillation
    3. Blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as Warfarin are given to reduce blood clot formation.
    4. When symptoms are severe and medications do not help, surgical correction of the valve or its replacement may be necessary.
    5. Antibiotics are given before any surgical or dental procedures to prevent infection (prophylaxis) of the stenotic valve.
    6. Antibiotics are given long term to those with risk of Rheumatic Fever.

  • Have your doctor examine you or refer you to a cardiologist.  A good source of information is the American Heart Association 1-800 242-8721.

  • Left-sided Heart Failure
  • Heart attack
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Left atrial tumors
  • Tricuspid valve stenosis
  • Swelling (excess fluids) of ankles, arms, and abdomen
  • Fatigue, weight loss, and weakness
  • Enlarged atrium:
    1. Hoarse voice
    2. Irregular heart rate (atrial fibrillation) leads to Palpitations (pounding or galloping)
    3. Blood clots can form in the atrium and travel (embolize) to other parts of the body and cause damage.
    4. One can cough up blood (hemoptysis)

more about Mitral Stenosis

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