Mitral Valve Stenosis - Overview
How is mitral valve stenosis diagnosed?
Mitral valve stenosis may not be diagnosed until you've had the disease for some time. If you don't have symptoms, the first clue might be a heart murmur your doctor hears during a routine checkup.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your past health and do a physical exam. If your doctor thinks you might have the disease, he or she may do more tests. These may include:
- An echocardiogram. This ultrasound test lets your doctor see a picture of your heart, including the mitral valve.
- An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). This test can check for problems with your heart rhythm.
- A chest X-ray. This shows your heart and lungs and can help your doctor find the cause of symptoms such as shortness of breath.
These tests also help your doctor find what caused the stenosis and how severe it is.
How is it treated?
Treatment depends on how severe the disease and your symptoms are.
- You'll probably need only regular checkups if you have mild or moderate stenosis.
- You may need medicines to treat complications.
- You may need your mitral valve repaired or replaced if you have severe symptoms, your valve is very narrow, or you are at risk for other problems, such as heart failure.
You will likely need regular echocardiograms so your doctor can check for any changes in your mitral valve and heart.
You can make lifestyle changes to keep your heart healthy. Your doctor may advise you to:
- Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
- Follow a heart-healthy diet and limit sodium.
- Be active. If your stenosis is mild, you'll probably be able to do your usual activities, get mild exercise, and play some sports. But if your stenosis is moderate or severe, you may need to avoid intense exercise. But your doctor can help you choose an activity or exercise that is safe for you.
- Stay at a healthy weight, or lose weight if you need to.