Combining attentive, compassionate care with our extensive clinical and research resources, UT Southwestern's cardiology experts and vascular specialists deliver individualized care within pre-eminent health care facilities.
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s heart experts have the experience, skill, and advanced techniques and technologies to properly diagnose and treat mitral stenosis.
With thorough evaluation and evidence-based therapies, our experienced team improves the quality of life for people suffering from this heart valve condition. Our Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery is one of the nation’s leading programs, offering a variety of treatments for mitral stenosis, including minimally invasive surgery.
Specialized Care for Mitral Valve Stenosis
Mitral stenosis (also called mitral valve stenosis) is a condition in which an abnormal mitral valve restricts the heart’s blood flow, increasing the work the left atrium must do to pump enough blood to the left ventricle.
The resulting pressure overload is referred to the lungs, which causes congestion in the pulmonary blood vessels.
In addition – because the right ventricle feeds blood to the left side of the heart – the restriction and congestion caused by mitral stenosis can eventually cause the right ventricle to fail.
Mitral valve stenosis is typically caused by rheumatic heart disease, with many patients having a history of rheumatic fever. The condition is more common in women than men.
UT Southwestern heart doctors provide leading-edge diagnosis and treatment of mitral stenosis. Our surgeons are experts in minimally invasive approaches to valve surgery, and we’ve performed more of these procedures than others in North Texas.
UT Southwestern is also home to a dedicated Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. Cardiac rehabilitation is a critical component of recovery and can prevent future heart disease.
Mitral Stenosis Symptoms
Symptoms of mitral valve stenosis can include:
- Coughing up of blood
- Fluid retention and swelling in the legs and abdomen (symptoms of right-sided heart failure)
- Neck vein distension
- Shortness of breath on exertion, lying flat, or waking up (symptoms of left-sided heart failure)
- Blood clots in the systemic vein (systemic embolism) of the left atrium, caused by pulmonary congestion
Mitral Stenosis Diagnosis
UT Southwestern heart doctors might perform several tests to determine the problem. Common diagnostic tests for mitral stenosis include:
- Cardiac catheterization: To evaluate the pressure gradient across the mitral valve
- Chest X-ray: To evaluate pulmonary congestion and heart size
- Echocardiography (echo or cardiac ultrasound): To evaluate the mitral valve and ventricle function
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): To evaluate heart rhythm and look for signs of atrial fibrillation, left atrial enlargement, or right ventricle hypertrophy
- Physical exam: To listen with a stethoscope for an opening “snap” or diastolic rumble/murmur
Mitral Stenosis Treatment
Treatments for mitral stenosis include:
- Medications: Might include diuretics to limit shortness of breath; digitalis drugs, beta blockers, or verapamil to treat atrial fibrillation; or anticoagulants to prevent clot formation
- Balloon valvuloplasty: A procedure sometimes used for long-term relief of mitral stenosis
- Mitral valve repair: Including mitral commissurotomy, a technique used in patients without severe calcium deposits on the valve
- Mitral valve replacement: For patients with severe disease for whom other treatments have failed
UT Southwestern’s cardiac rehabilitation specialists create customized plans that integrate proper nutrition, exercise, and, if necessary, nicotine cessation into patients’ lifestyles to improve their cardiovascular health.
As one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers a number of clinical trials aimed at improving the outcomes of patients with cardiovascular disease.
Clinical trials often give patients access to leading-edge treatments that are not yet widely available. Eligible patients who choose to participate in one of UT Southwestern’s clinical trials might receive treatments years before they are available to the public.