Mitral Valve Stenosis - Symptoms
mitral valve stenosis is a lifelong disease, symptoms
usually take 10 to 20 years to develop and can take as long as 40
years. Early symptoms are
often mild and hard to distinguish from other forms of heart disease.
In the later stages of mitral valve stenosis, the left atrium may become
damaged, causing more noticeable symptoms.
Symptoms of mitral valve stenosis
|Shortness of breath (dyspnea)|
Although the cause of dyspnea
is not completely understood, there may not be enough time between heartbeats
left ventricle to fill with blood, causing blood to
back up into the lungs. The increased pressure and fluid in the lungs cause the
shortness of breath.
This symptom may be due to or made worse by
the development of an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia),
|Fatigue or weakness |
Little by little, the heart
becomes unable to pump enough blood, reducing oxygen and nutrient supply to the
rest of the body.
|Pounding of the heart
This may be due to atrial
fibrillation or to the heart working harder to maintain its blood output
despite a narrowed valve.
|Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)|
Veins in the lungs may bleed,
usually due to increased blood pressure in the lungs.
You may not have any symptoms until an aggravating
event-such as exercise, stress, pregnancy, infection, or an irregular
heartbeat-occurs. Or you may have only a few symptoms, regardless of how far
the stenosis has progressed. It is important that your doctor monitor your
condition for physical changes in your heart and lungs that you might not be
Additional symptoms of mitral valve stenosis are related
heart failure and include an irregular heart rhythm
(most often due to
Other less common
- Hoarseness and vocal cord paralysis (Ortner's
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
- Skin color changes, such as pink to purple shades of the
cheeks (mitral facies) or dark bluish hues in various areas of the body due to
reduced blood flow (cyanosis). Skin color changes occur rarely and usually only
in the end stages of the disease.
Because these symptoms could be caused by various heart and
lung problems, it may be difficult at first to connect them to mitral valve
Symptoms may not become severe for years
after they first become noticeable. It is often one or more
complications of mitral valve stenosis that leads to