A narrowing of the valve separating the two left heart chambers is known as mitral valve stenosis, sometimes referred to as mitral stenosis. The heart’s main pumping chamber receives less or no blood flow through the constricted valve. The lower left heart chamber, commonly known as the left ventricle, is the primary pumping chamber of the heart.
You may feel exhausted and breathless if you have mitral valve stenosis. Other signs include fast or irregular heartbeats, lightheadedness, chest pain, or bloody coughing. Some individuals fail to notice symptoms. Rheumatic fever, a side effect of strep throat, can result in mitral valve stenosis.
Medication or surgical repair or replacement of the mitral valve may be used to treat mitral valve stenosis. Some people simply require yearly checkup. The severity of the condition and whether it is deteriorating determine how it should be treated. Mitral valve stenosis can cause major heart problems if left untreated.
Usually, mitral valve stenosis gets worse gradually. You could not experience any symptoms, or you might have subtle ones for years. Mitral valve stenosis symptoms can appear at any age, including in children.
The following are signs of mitral valve stenosis:
- Discomfort or pain in the chest
- Breathing problems, especially during physical exertion or when lying down
- Accumulation of fluid in the lungs
- Coughing up blood
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Feeling of a beating, fluttering, or rapid heartbeat
- A heart murmur, which is an irregular heart sound
- Swollen feet or legs
- Dizziness or fainting
- Fatigue, particularly when engaging in more activities
When the heart rate increase, as it does during exercise, symptoms of mitral valve stenosis may develop or worsen. Symptoms may be brought on by anything that creates stress on the body, such as pregnancy or diseases.
If you experience chest pain, a rapid, fluttering, or hammering heartbeat, or experience shortness of breath when exercising, call your doctor right away to schedule an appointment. Your doctor could advise going to a cardiologist.
Knowing how the heart generally functions may be helpful in understanding the causes of mitral valve illness.
One of the four heart valves that maintain proper blood flow is the mitral valve. Every heartbeat causes the leaflets on each valve to open and close once. Blood flow via the heart to the body may be decrease if a valve does not open or close appropriately. Any of the heart valves becomes smaller with mitral valve stenosis. The reduced valve opening requires the heart to pump blood through it more forcefully. This lead to reduce blood flow to the entire body.
Mitral valve stenosis can be caused by many factors including:
- Rheumatic fever. The most typical cause of mitral valve stenosis is a complication of streptococcal throat infection. This condition is known as rheumatic mitral valve disease when rheumatic fever affects the mitral valve. The signs of valve disease may not appear for several years or even decades following rheumatic fever.
- Calcium deposits. Calcium deposits may accumulate around the mitral valve as you age. The structures that support the mitral valve flaps may become narrower as a result. Mitral annular calcification, or MAC for short, is the name of the condition. Symptoms of mitral stenosis can result from severe MAC. Even with surgery, treating it is challenging. Aortic valve issues frequently occur in people with calcium surrounding the mitral valve.
- Radiation therapy. The mitral valve may occasionally become thicker and harder as a result of radiation to the chest area. Typically, 20 to 30 years following radiation therapy, heart valve deterioration occurs.
- Congenital heart defect. Although less likely to occur, a baby will be born with a constricted mitral valve that will eventually create issues.
- Other health conditions. Rarely, autoimmune diseases like lupus and others can lead to mitral valve stenosis.
These are the risk factors that may lead to mitral valve stenosis:
- Untreated strep infections. The likelihood of developing mitral valve stenosis is increased by a history of untreated streptococcal throat infection or rheumatic fever.
- Aging. The likelihood of calcium accumulation around the mitral valve is higher in older people.
- Radiation therapy. The shape and structure of the mitral valve are altered by radiation. Rarely, patients who get radiation treatment for specific forms of cancer in the chest area may develop mitral valve stenosis.
- Use of illegal drug. The drug MDMA, (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), increase the risk of developing mitral valve disease.
- Use of certain medicines. Patient taking some drugs have an increased risk of mitral valve stenosis such as ergot alkaloids, fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine.