Like other heart valve problems, mitral valve stenosis can strain your heart and decrease blood flow. Untreated, mitral valve stenosis can lead to complications such as:

  • Pulmonary hypertension. This is a condition in which there's increased pressure in the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your lungs (pulmonary arteries), causing your heart to work harder.
  • Heart failure. A narrowed mitral valve interferes with blood flow. This can cause pressure to build in your lungs, leading to fluid accumulation. The fluid buildup strains the right side of the heart, leading to right heart failure. With severe narrowing of the mitral valve, over time, the heart's ability to pump blood may be reduced.
  • Heart enlargement. The pressure buildup of mitral valve stenosis results in enlargement of your heart's upper left chamber (atrium).
  • Atrial fibrillation. The stretching and enlargement of your heart's left atrium may lead to this heart rhythm irregularity in which the upper chambers of your heart beat chaotically and too quickly.
  • Blood clots. Untreated atrial fibrillation can cause blood clots to form in the upper left chamber of your heart. Blood clots from your heart can break loose and travel to other parts of your body, causing serious problems, such as a stroke if a clot blocks a blood vessel in your brain.
  • Lung congestion (pulmonary edema). Blood and fluid can back up into your lungs, leading to shortness of breath and, sometimes, coughing up of blood-tinged sputum.
Aug. 22, 2014

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