Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor will ask about your medical history and give you a physical examination that includes listening to your heart through a stethoscope. Mitral valve stenosis causes an abnormal heart sound, called a heart murmur.

Your doctor also will listen to your lungs to check lung congestion — a buildup of fluid in your lungs — that can occur with mitral valve stenosis.

Your doctor will then decide which tests are needed to make a diagnosis. For testing, you may be referred to a cardiologist.

Diagnostic tests

Common tests to diagnose mitral valve stenosis include:

  • Transthoracic echocardiogram. Sound waves directed at your heart from a wand-like device (transducer) held on your chest produce video images of your heart in motion. This test is used to confirm the diagnosis of mitral stenosis.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). Wires (electrodes) attached to pads on your skin measure electrical impulses from your heart, providing information about your heart rhythm. You might walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike during an ECG to see how your heart responds to exertion.
  • Chest X-ray. This enables your doctor to determine whether any chamber of the heart is enlarged and the condition of your lungs.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram. A small transducer attached to the end of a tube inserted down your esophagus allows a closer look at the mitral valve than a regular echocardiogram does.
  • Cardiac catheterization. This invasive technique isn't performed routinely for mitral stenosis, but it might be used when more information is needed to assess your condition. It involves threading a thin tube (catheter) through a blood vessel in your arm or groin to an artery in your heart and injecting dye through the catheter to make the artery visible on an X-ray. This provides a detailed picture of your heart.

Cardiac tests such as these help your doctor distinguish mitral valve stenosis from other heart conditions, including other mitral valve conditions. These tests also help reveal the cause of your mitral valve stenosis and whether the valve can be repaired.

Aug. 22, 2014

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