What is mitral valve stenosis? (MVS)
Mitral stenosis is a narrowing of the mitral valve opening. Mitral stenosis restricts blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle.
What problems can result from untreated or advanced mitral valve stenosis?
Mitral stenosis is caused when blood flow through the narrow valve opening is reduced. As a result, the volume and pressure from blood remaining in the left atrium increases which then causes the left atrium to enlarge.
What causes mitral valve stenosis?
Mitral stenosis almost always results from rheumatic fever, a childhood illness that sometimes occurs after untreated strep throat or scarlet fever.
Rheumatic fever is very rare in this country due to the use of effective antibiotics to prevent infections.
Two conditions not related to mitral stenosis that can mimic MVS by producing the same symptoms are:
- Myxoma (a cancerous tumor in the left atrium)
- Nearby blood clot that reduces blood flow through the mitral valve
Is mitral valve stenosis treatable?
The symptoms of mitral stenosis can often be treated and reduced by taking antibiotics to treat strep throat, rheumatic fever or scarlet fever.
If drug treatment does not reduce the symptoms to a satisfying degree, the valve may be repaired or replaced.
Understanding your heart valve problem: Which solution may be right for you?
Walk through a step-by-step interactive guide explaining your valve issue and treatment options with helpful videos, text summaries and links along the way.
This content was last reviewed on 02/18/13.