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Mitral Valve Stenosis - Overview

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms usually 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 include:

  • Shortness of breath even when you have not been very active or when you are resting.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Pounding of the heart (palpitations).

Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms.

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 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.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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