Mitral stenosis

Alternative Names

Mitral valve obstruction

Definition of Mitral stenosis

Mitral stenosis is a heart valve disorder that involves the mitral valve. This valve separates the upper and lower chambers on the left side of the heart. Stenosis refers to a condition in which the valve does not open fully, restricting blood flow.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Blood that flows between different chambers of your heart must flow through a valve. The valve between the two chambers on the left side of your heart is called the mitral valve. It opens up enough so that blood can flow from one chamber of your heart (left atria) to the next chamber (left ventricle). It then closes, keeping blood from flowing backwards.

Symptoms

In adults there may be no symptoms. Symptoms may, however, appear or get worse with exercise or any activity that raises the heart rate. In adults, symptoms usually develop between ages 20 – 50.

Signs and tests

The health care provider will listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope. A distinctive murmur, snap, or other abnormal heart sound may be heard. The typical murmur is a rumbling sound that is heard over the heart during the resting phase of the heartbeat. The sound gets louder just before the heart begins to contract.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the symptoms and condition of the heart and lungs. People with mild symptoms or none at all may not need treatment. Hospitalization may be required for diagnosis and treatment of severe symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome varies. The disorder may be mild, without symptoms, or may be more severe and eventually disabling. Complications may be severe or life threatening. Mitral stenosis is usually controllable with treatment and improved with valvuloplasty or surgery.

Review

Issam Mikati, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/6/2010

Heart, section through the middle
Heart, front view
Mitral stenosis
Heart valves
Heart valve surgery - series

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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