Mitral Stenosis—Child

(Mitral Valve Stenosis—Child)

Definition

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. When working properly, the valve helps to keep blood flowing in the right direction from the upper to the lower chambers.
Mitral stenosis makes it difficult 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.
Mitral Valve Stenosis
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The most common cause of mitral stenosis is rheumatic fever . This infection may develop after strep throat or scarlet fever. It can scar the heart valves. Mitral stenosis may develop 5-10 years after this infection occurs.
Less common or rare causes include:
  • Birth defect
  • Blood clots
  • Tumors
  • Infective endocarditis
  • Other growths that block blood flow through the mitral valve

Risk Factors

The main risk factor for mitral stenosis is rheumatic fever. Other risk factors may include:
  • Being born with mitral valve problems
  • Having other health problems that affect blood flow in the heart

Symptoms

Symptoms are caused by the problems with blood flow and may include:
  • Difficulty breathing, especially during exercise and when lying flat
  • Waking up short of breath in the middle of the night
  • Tiredness
  • Sensation of rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Cough with exertion
  • Coughing up blood
  • Swelling of the legs or feet
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Lightheadedness, fainting
  • Chest pain, like squeezing, pressure, or tightness (rare)

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Images may be taken of your child's heart. This can be done with:
Your child's heart function may also be tested with:

Treatment

If your child has mild mitral stenosis, immediate treatment may not be needed. Your child's condition will be monitored to look for potential problems. Other treatment options include:

Medications

Certain medications may be given to improve heart function. The medications may help control the heart's rhythm and prevent the build up of fluid in the body.
Antibiotics may be needed to treat certain infections.

Surgery

Your child may need surgery to prevent heart damage. Common types of heart valve surgery include:
  • Mitral valvulotomy—A surgical cut is made in the stenotic mitral valve to allow the valve to open wider
  • Balloon valvuloplasty —A balloon is inflated in the valve to stretch out the surrounding tissue. This may provide temporary relief of symptoms, but the valve may become blocked again.
  • Mitral valve replacement—the valve is replaced with a mechanical or tissue valve

Complication Management

There are several steps your child can take to avoid some of the complications of mitral stenosis:
  • Get regular medical care. This includes basic checkups and heart tests.
  • Take antibiotics before any dental cleaning, dental work, or other invasive procedures if it is recommended by your doctor. Not all patients with mitral stenosis need antibiotics for these procedures.
  • Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt. Work with the doctor or dietitian to plan a healthy diet for your child. This may help decrease the pressure in your child’s heart and improve symptoms.
  • Monitor blood pressure. Inform the doctor if your child seems to be developing high blood pressure .

Prevention

Most cases of mitral stenosis can be prevented by preventing rheumatic fever:
  • Treat strep throat infections right away to avoid rheumatic fever, which can cause scarring of the heart valve.
  • Always make sure your child finishes all of the antibiotics given, even if symptoms improve.

RESOURCES

American Heart Association http://www.heart.org

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca

Canadian Family Physician http://www.cfp.ca

References

Mitral stenosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 20, 2014. Accessed November 3, 2014.

Mitral valve abnormalities. Seattle Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.seattlechildrens.org/medical-conditions/heart-blood-conditions/mitral-valve-abnormalities-symptoms/. Accessed November 3, 2014.

Shipton B, Wahba H. Valvular heart disease: review and update. Am Fam Physician. 20011;63:2201.

Revision Information

Health Library Search

Only show results from the selected categories.











The flow of blood pumped by the heart is controlled by one-way valves. These valves assure that blood moves in only one direction. Mitral regurgitation occurs when the he...

Mitral stenosis is a narrowing of the mitral valve in the heart. This valve is located between the upper chamber and the lower pumping chamber of the left side of the hea...

The mitral valve is on the left side of the heart. It allows blood to flow from the left upper chamber into the left lower chamber. When the valve is not working well, it...