What are the symptoms?
don't develop until 10 to 20 years after stenosis starts, and they may take as long as
40 years to develop.
When symptoms first appear, they usually are mild. You may
only have a few symptoms, even if your mitral valve is very narrow. An early
symptom is shortness of breath when you are active. This shortness of breath
may seem normal to you.
Symptoms later in the disease may
- Shortness of breath even when you have not
been very active or when you are resting.
- Feeling very tired or
- Pounding of the heart (palpitations).
Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or you have
How is mitral valve stenosis diagnosed?
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:
ultrasound test lets your doctor see a picture of your
heart, including the mitral valve.
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 no symptoms.
- You may need medicines to relieve symptoms or 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.
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.
You may need to limit
sodium in your diet.