Pediatric Mitral Valve Stenosis

Scientists are making advances every day in developing new ways to repair mitral valves with stenosis, and even implant valves that can grow with your child.

At Children's Health℠, we offer care from some of the nation’s leading pediatric heart experts, and we have cared for many children with mitral valve stenosis. Our leading-edge imaging and surgical techniques can give your child the best opportunity to live a productive, healthy life.


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Park Cities

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What is Pediatric Mitral Valve Stenosis?

The mitral valve acts as a door between the left atrium and left ventricle of a child’s heart. The mitral valve lets blood flow into the heart in one direction, which helps regulate how much blood flows through your child’s heart.

Mitral valve stenosis is a defect in the valve – it may be fused, too thick or have another structural problem. When the mitral valve doesn’t work properly the blood flow through your child’s heart can become disorganized.

Sometimes, children are born with mitral valve stenosis. This heart defect can make the heart work harder to pump blood and cause your child’s heart to weaken over time.

mitral stenosis showing normal mitral valve and stenosed mitral valve in the heart

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Mitral Valve Stenosis?

  • Rapid or labored breathing
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Slow growth and slow weight gain
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory infections
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty exercising
  • A heart murmur found by their doctor on exam

How is Pediatric Mitral Valve Stenosis diagnosed?

Doctors use a few different types of tests to diagnose mitral valve stenosis. These tests take detailed pictures of your child’s heart to help doctors see the defect and how it is impacting your child’s heart. These imaging tests include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — a tube-like machine that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of your child’s heart. These images help doctors see the heart’s structure and function.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scans — CT scans create a 3-dimensional image that can help your child’s care team make a better plan for surgery and treatment.
  • Echocardiogram (echo) — an ultrasound of the heart. This painless test uses sound waves to make pictures.

What causes Pediatric Mitral Valve Stenosis?

Mitral valve stenosis is most often caused by a birth defect in your child’s heart. Mitral valve stenosis can also be caused by rheumatic fever, though this disease is not very common in the United States nowadays. Surgery to repair an abnormal mitral valve can sometimes cause mitral stenosis.

How is Pediatric Mitral Valve Stenosis treated?

Children with more serious mitral valve stenosis may need surgery. However, some will not need any immediate treatment. Many children with mitral valve stenosis live healthy lives with regular checkups by their care team. When a child does require surgery, they may need:

Cardiac catheterization

Cardiologists insert a long thin tube called a catheter into an artery or vein in your child’s groin, neck or arm and thread it through their blood vessels to their heart. Once in place, the catheter provides important information about your child's oxygen levels and the pumping function of their heart. It can also help doctors restore the function of your child's mitral valve.

Valve repair and replacement

Recent advancements in pediatric cardiology have led to the development of new tools and techniques for replacing defective valves with medical devices that are safer and healthier for your child. Some valves may need to be repaired; others will need to be replaced. If your child has a mechanical valve inserted, they may need it replaced as they grow.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How will Mitral Valve Stenosis impact my child's day-to-day life?

    For the most part, children with mitral valve stenosis live very healthy, productive lives. However, some children may experience some limitations on their physical activity. It all depends on the child and their overall health.