Mitral valve stenosis is narrowing of the mitral valve that causes difficult blood flow in the heart.

The mitral valve is between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart. In mitral valve stenosis, the valve opening is narrowed. This makes the heart pump harder in order for the blood to pass through the narrowed valve, which can cause chronic heart failure. The mitral valve stenosis can occur alongside mitral valve regurgitation, i.e. the blood goes back through the mitral heart valve into the ventricle.

Mitral valve stenosis is more frequent in people older than 40, and has higher incidence in women.



Mitral valve stenosis may not give symptoms if it is of a mild type, and patients can endure this condition. However, if they find themselves in specific situation or if they have high temperature, anemia, or pregnancy, they feel strong symptoms, breathe with difficulty and cough. Symptoms are gradually developing, and they are:

  • Unexplainable fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, when initially occurs during some activity, but later it appears even during resting
  • Palpitations (uncomfortable feeling when the heart beats irregularly or abnormally)
  • Swollen feet
  • Headache
  • Symptoms of stroke



The main cause of mitral valve stenosis is rheumatic fever. This disease rarely occurs today in the developed countries. Mitral valve damage can be caused even if the person had rheumatic fever during childhood. In rare cases, mitral valve stenosis can be congenital. Other cause can be calcium deposits, which usually come with age.


Risk Factors

The risk factors for mitral valve stenosis are:

  • Congenital defects
  • Rheumatic fever, still a cause in the developing countries
  • Strep infections



The complications of mitral valve stenosis can be:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Blood clotting on the atrium because it can’t empty fully
  • Heart enlargement
  • Blocking of an artery
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Pulmonary edema



Preventive measures for mitral valve stenosis mean to prevent rheumatic fever, which is caused by a strep throat. Therefore, always treat and cure a sore throat, which is easily done today with antibiotics.