Imagine the blood flow through your heart like cars on the highway. Everything flows along fine until there is a blockage in the road, which can cause a huge back-up in traffic. In mitral valve stenosis, the valve on the left side of your heart cannot open as wide and lets less blood through—essentially reducing the “lanes of traffic” for blood flow. Blood can then back up into your upper heart and back to your lungs.
You may develop mitral valve stenosis 5-10 years after having rheumatic fever, a condition that can result from untreated strep throat. Because rheumatic fever is now less common in the United States, mitral valve stenosis is becoming rarer as well. Mitral valve stenosis can also run in families, so children may be born with it.
If you have mitral valve stenosis, you may not notice anything different at first. Symptoms can take decades to develop. Later, you may feel short of breath with increased activity or even when resting, and you may also feel very tired or notice swelling in your feet or ankles.
Treatment will depend on how severe your condition and symptoms are. Use this condition center to learn more about living with mitral valve stenosis. You can also read about the latest research, create a list of questions to ask your doctor and much more.