Pediatric Mitral Stenosis

Pediatric Mitral Stenosis

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Summary

Pediatric mitral stenosis occurs when the mitral valve of the heart is narrowed or obstructed, reducing blood flow and causing strain on the heart.

Expanded overview

When the mitral valve is healthy, two tiny flaps of skin (leaflets) regulate blood flow like a one-way street. Oxygen-rich blood collects in the left atrium (the top left of the heart) and is pumped out into the body. With pediatric mitral stenosis, the mitral valve is narrowed, decreasing the amount of blood pumped through the valve each time the heart beats. This causes the heart to work harder, and it can weaken the muscle over time.

A narrowed mitral valve may be present at birth (congenital) or may appear later in life (acquired) due to rheumatic fever (a complication of strep throat), or in rare cases, it can be caused by autoimmune diseases like lupus. In most cases, the cause is unknown. The level of blockage can vary and become worse over time.

Symptoms

Critical stenosis in infants (birth to 1 year*)

  • Weak pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Decreased feeding
  • Sweating
  • Lethargy (exhaustion)
  • Irritability
  • In extreme cases, congestive heart failure

Birth to 19-years old**

  • Exercise-related chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Shortness of breath, or frequent coughing/wheezing
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations or heart murmur)
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Blood clots

*Age limit of infants defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
**Age limit of pediatric/child age group defined by the WHO.

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