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Mitral Stenosis Mitral stenosis is a heart valve disorder that narrows or obstructs the mitral valve opening. Narrowing of the mitral valve prevents the valve from opening properly and obstructs the blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle. This can reduce the amount of blood that flows forward to the body.
As the valve area becomes smaller, less blood flows forward to the body. The atrium swells as pressure builds up and blood may flow back into the lungs, resulting in pulmonary edema (fluid in the lung tissue). The main risk factor for mitral stenosis is a history of rheumatic fever but it may also be triggered by pregnancy or other stress on the body such as a respiratory infection, endocarditis, and other cardiac disorders.
In adults, mitral stenosis most commonly occurs in people who have had rheumatic fever. Since rheumatic fever rates are declining in the United States, the incidence of mitral stenosis is also decreasing. Only rarely do other disorders cause mitral stenosis in adults. Symptoms:
Fatigue, tired easily
Frequent respiratory infections (such as bronchitis)
Chest discomfort (rare)
Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
Swelling of feet or ankles
Poor growth in children
Right-sided heart failure
Emboli (migration of clot) to the intestines, kidneys, or other areas LifeART Collection Images Copyright © 1989-2001 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD