Things You Should Know About Mitral Valve Stenosis

by:FLOS     2020-06-03
When the mitral valve gets narrowed and the blood flow decreases inside the heart, the condition is called mitral stenosis. This valve is situated on the left side of the heart between atrium ie, the upper chamber of the heart and ventricle ie, the lower chamber. When mitral stenosis happens, this valve becomes narrowed and obstructs the free flow of the blood through the atrium. In effect, the heart has to work harder so that it can pump blood across the narrow valve. This over exertion may eventually end up in heart failure itself. Mitral stenosis often coexist with mitral incompetence and is often found to be more common in females. Causes In most cases it occurs due to an earlier damage caused to the valve by a rheumatic fever attack. But, these days rheumatic fever occurrence is very rare, especially in developed countries. In the UK, mitral stenosis was found in elderly or middle aged people who were reported to have rheumatic fever in their childhood. In very few cases, mitral stenosis was found to be existent at birth also. Symptoms - these include: Feeling tired without a solid reason. Shortness of breath while exertion in the beginning but in later stages, this will occur even when you are resting. Rapid / abnormal beating of heart or palpitations Swelling of the tissues, especially on ankles will also happen as the condition becomes worse. These can be symptoms of heart failure itself. Complications In some cases of mitral stenosis irregular and rapid beating of the atria can be observed (ReferAtrial fibrillation). Another complication is clotting of blood on the wall of the left atrium as it does not empty itself completely. Also in case fragments of such blood clots break off, it may lead to blocking of some other blood vessel in a different place in the body. On the other hand, if such a clot happens and blocks an artery supplying blood to the brain, the result may be a stroke. Diagnosis After the initial examination, the first thing your doctor ask may be to take an ECG so that the electrical activity of the heart can be monitored. The interior of the heart will be imaged by echocardiography, which will help to understand the valve movements in the heart. A chest X-ray may also be necessary. In order to measure the seriousness of the condition, a cardiac catheter procedure will also be helpful. In this procedure, a cardiac catheter is inserted through the blood vessels of the heart and with the help of a device attached to it, the catheter measures the pressure on both sides of the valve. Treatment Symptoms of mitral stenosis are relieved by proper drug treatments in most cases. For example, shortness of breath can be relieved by removing extra fluid from the body. For this, diuretics may be administered. In case of abnormal heart rhythm antiarrhythmic drugs may be prescribed to correct them. Also, in order to avoid blood clots in the heart, anti-coagulation drugs may be used. In case drug treatment turned out to be unsuccessful, a balloon valvuloplasty is the next option. In this, a catheter with a balloon attached to its tip is passed into the stenosed valve of the heart and the balloon is inflated briefly which will widen it. Otherwise, the valve will have to be replaced or repaired by surgery (Refer Heart valve replacement). A valve replacement surgery is always susceptible to infection. Therefore, before any dental or surgical procedures on the urinary or digestive tracts, where there is a chance of infection entering into your bloodstream, you should take antibiotics (single dose). It is found that balloon valvuloplasty is only a temporary solution for mitral stenosis as in most cases it comes back within a year. Nonetheless, if you do a valve replacement it will be more effective and will hold good for ten years or more.
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