Mitral stenosis is a narrowing of the mitral valve in the heart. The mitral valve is in the left side of the heart between the upper and lower chambers of the heart. The valve normally keeps blood flowing in the right direction from the upper to the lower chambers.
This problem makes it hard for blood to move from the upper and lower chambers. This means there is less blood for the lower chamber to pump out to the body. The blood can also back up in the upper chamber and push back into the lungs.
The most common cause of mitral stenosis is
rheumatic fever. This infection may happen after strep throat or scarlet fever. It can scar the heart valves. Mitral stenosis may develop 5 to 10 years after infection.
Less common causes are:
Structural problems that are present at birth
Growth that block blood flow through the mitral valve
The risk of this problem is higher in children who have rheumatic fever. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Being born with mitral valve problems
Having other health problems that affect blood flow in the heart
Problems may be:
Difficulty breathing, especially during exercise and when lying flat
Waking up short of breath in the middle of the night
Coughing up blood
Swelling of the legs or feet
Lightheadedness and fainting
Chest pain (rare)
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Images may be taken of your child's heart. This can be done with:
Mitral stenosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/mitral-stenosis. Accessed March 9, 2021.
Mitral valve abnormalities. Seattle Children’s Hospital website. Available at: https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/mitral-valve-abnormalities. Accessed March 9, 2021.
Nishimura RA, Otto CM, et al. 2014 AHA/ACC Guideline for the Management of Patients With Valvular Heart Disease: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014 Jun 10;63(22):e57-e185.
Shipton B, Wahba H. Valvular heart disease: review and update. Am Fam Physician. 20011;63:2201.
Last reviewed December 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 3/9/2021
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