Mitral Valve Stenosis - Treatment Overview
mitral valve stenosis depends on the severity of your
symptoms, which can take 10 to 40 years to occur. If you don't yet
have symptoms or you have mild, stable symptoms, your doctor may only
monitor your condition with periodic
echocardiograms. As the valve narrows, symptoms will
start or get worse. Repair or replacement of the valve will be needed to
prevent complications such as
As you review your
treatment options, think about the following:
- Monitoring your condition may be all that's
needed before you have symptoms or if you have only mild, stable
- After symptoms start, your doctor may prescribe
medicines to treat them and to prevent complications.
monitoring, if your doctor detects increased pressure in your heart and lungs,
increased narrowing of the valve, or if your symptoms become severe, your
mitral valve will need to be repaired or replaced.
- Whether your
valve can be repaired or replaced depends on the condition of the valve. If it
is damaged beyond repair, it will need to be replaced with an artificial
- Repair can be noninvasive (balloon valvotomy) or require
open-heart surgery (open commissurotomy). Replacement requires open-heart
Mitral valve stenosis develops slowly. As the valve narrows, the heart initially
compensates by pumping harder. Eventually pressure builds in the upper left
side of your heart (left atrium ) as more and more force is needed to push
blood across your narrowing mitral valve. This eventually stretches the
atrium's walls, weakens the heart, and leads to
heart failure. For most people, it takes 10 to 20
years for the mitral valve to narrow enough to produce symptoms. This is called
the asymptomatic phase. But if your heart adjusts to the narrowed valve, you
may not have symptoms even after your valve has narrowed.
Symptoms most commonly develop when unusual stress places an extra burden
on your heart. For example, hard exercise can bring on symptoms. Symptoms in
women may develop during pregnancy because of the increased demands that
pregnancy makes on the heart.
Your doctor may prescribe
medicines to manage the symptoms of
mitral valve stenosis that you've developed, such as
shortness of breath, and to prevent and treat complications that may develop.
These medicines may include:
Treatment if the condition gets worse
mitral valve stenosis gets worse, there will come a
time when your doctor will advise repairing or replacing your mitral valve.