Mitral Stenosis and Mitral Valve Obstruction

Mitral stenosis is a narrowing or obstruction of the opening of the mitral valve, which separates the upper and lower chambers on the left side of the heart. This prevents adequate blood flow between the left atrium (upper chamber) and ventricle (lower chamber).

Risk factors

Risk factors for mitral valve stenosis include rheumatic fever. Since rheumatic fever rates are declining in the United States, the incidence of mitral stenosis is also decreasing. Only rarely do other disorders cause mitral stenosis


Patients may present with no symptoms, or the following symptoms may appear or worsen with exercise or increase in heart rate:

  • chest discomfort

  • cough

  • difficulty breathing

  • fatigue

  • frequent respiratory infections

  • palpitations

  • swelling of feet or ankles

Diagnostic Tools

Many tests are used to diagnose mitral valve disease. Usually, more than one test is done before a definitive diagnosis can be made. These tests may include:

  • physical examination and patient history   

  • ECG 

  • chest X–ray  

  • echocardiogram 

  • cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography  

  • cardiac CT angiography

Treatment Options

Heart valve surgery can be used to replace or repair damaged mitral valves:

  • Mitral valve repair surgery corrects mitral valve insufficiency; the damaged valve is strengthened and shortened to help the valve close more tightly

  • Mitral valve replacement surgery corrects both mitral stenosis and insufficiency 

Surgeons may consider replacing the original valve with either:

  • Mechanical valves created from manmade materials, which require long-term blood thinning with warfarin medication

  • Biological (tissue) valves


Mitral stenosis itself often cannot be prevented, but its complications may be prevented. Preventive measures to limit complications may include:

  • informing your health care provider of any history of heart valve disease before medical treatment

  • taking anticoagulation medication as prescribed

  • telling your health care provider if you have a family history of congenital heart diseases or valve disease

  • treating strep infections promptly to prevent rheumatic fever  


Click images to enlarge

Normal vs. Leaking Valves



The Heart in Diastole


Site Powered By | Thermal Creative