Even though the number of cases reported for rheumatic fever has considerably decreased but their tendency to cause mitral valve stenosis has not received the same change. Rheumatic fever affects the cusps of the mitral valve and creates scars which result in its improper opening and closing that can direct the backward flow of blood into the left ventricle of the heart.
Likewise, the stenosis of the mitral valve disarrays the various functions of the heart, leading to an increased amount of pressure on the heart. Therefore, the heart has to perform more than its average capacity and it becomes vulnerable to other cardiovascular disease and damages.
Apart from the symptoms and effects of a stenotic mitral valve, it can also cause further complications which are quite harmful and should be treated with proper medical procedures. The narrowing of the mitral valve increases pressure on the heart which eventually increments the pressure through which blood flows into the pulmonary arteries from the heart to the lungs. Medically, this condition is termed pulmonary hypertension.
The fluid accumulation in the heart due to a narrowed mitral valve can likewise, lead to an increase in blood pressure. The fluid accumulated puts pressure on the right side of the heart resulting in the life-threatening condition of heart failure. A stenotic mitral valve is also responsible for heart enlargement. It is often accompanied by the irregular beating of the heart with causes disarray in the normal pattern of the heartbeat. This condition of atrial fibrillation is associated with the creation of blood clots in the upper left chamber of the heart. If these blood clots are not checked and treated on time, their breakage can block a blood vessel in the brain resulting in the life-threatening condition of a stroke.
For a proper diagnosis of the mitral valve stenosis, state-of-the-art facilities are used. Transthoracic echocardiogram, transesophageal echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, and cardiac catheterization are some of the high-end precision tests. An important part of the assessment is based on evaluating the range of impacts caused by the mitral valve. Since the medical condition of mitral valve stenosis is related to the structural composition of the heart, medications are not provided as the complete solution to treat mitral valve stenosis instead their use is focused upon reducing the pain and manifestations to balance the pressure on the heart with was earlier created by the damaged mitral valve. Also, there are on-target medicines which specifically affect a particular symptom. For instance, anti-arrhythmia are prescribed to treat atrial fibrillation.
The treatments of mitral valve stenosis are either for its repair or its replacement and depending upon the complexity of the situation, doctors can prescribe both surgical and non-surgical options. As a non-surgical procedure, doctors recommend percutaneous balloon mitral valvuloplasty which involves insertion of a catheter attached to a balloon into the narrowed valve through an artery. After proper insertion, the balloon is inflated so as to widen the narrowed valve and thence, both the balloon and the catheter are removed. Usually, this non-surgical procedure is performed in children and in the age group of young people because this procedure is to be assisted with other treatments so that the opening up of the mitral valve can be maintained.
In some cases, doctors cannot perform balloon valvuloplasty and surgical options are explored to effectively treat the condition of mitral valve stenosis. On the traditional lines of open heart surgery, the doctor performs commissurotomy to clear the settlements on the narrowed mitral valve which were increasing the workload on the heart, it is also an adequate procedure to treat the mitral valve stenosis which was caused by the deposition of calcium.
As described, balloon valvuloplasty and commissurotomy are meant to repair the damaged/narrowed mitral valve and they do not include any sort of substitution in the entire procedure. On the contrary, the surgical procedure of mitral valve replacement is performed to remove a stenotic mitral valve and substitute it with a healthy one which can either be mechanical or composed of biological tissue. The substitution of a stenotic mitral valve with a mechanical valve includes the prescription of blood-thinning medicines which aim to reduce the chances of formation of blood clots.