Mitral valve stenosis is a condition in which the opening to the mitral valve of the heart is narrowed, preventing the valve from opening normally and restricting blood flow into the pumping chamber of the heart. Symptoms, if they occur, include fatigue, palpitations and shortness of breath.
What Is Mitral Valve Stenosis?
When the opening to the heart’s mitral valve is abnormally narrow, the flow of blood through the heart becomes inhibited. This makes the heart work harder to move blood through the narrowed valve into the left ventricle, which is the chamber that pumps blood to the body. Mitral valve stenosis has become less common in the United States today because the condition’s primary cause, rheumatic fever, has decreased in frequency.
Mild cases of heart valve disease may not cause symptoms. The most common symptoms include:
- Palpitations caused by irregular heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the feet and ankles
- Respiratory infections
Symptoms may worsen with exertion or stress.
What Causes Mitral Valve Stenosis?
Mitral valve disease can be caused by rheumatic fever, a complication of strep throat or a congenital heart defect.
Mitral valve stenosis can weaken the heart, leading to heart failure, atrial fibrillation, enlargement of the heart, lung congestion and blood clot.