Mitral Valve Stenosis

October 19, 2022
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Finding out your child has a heart condition like mitral valve stenosis can be one of the most difficult times any parent can face. It’s natural to be anxious and have questions about what the future holds and how to meet any care requirements. As a concerned parent or caregiver, taking an active role in your child’s heart health, you can ensure the best chance for long-term well being for your whole family.

One of the best first steps you can take on this journey is to learn as much as you can about this condition. This includes getting practical information on the causes, treatment, and care options for children dealing with mitral valve stenosis.

What is Mitral Valve Stenosis?

Mitral valve stenosis describes any defect or condition that causes narrowing in the mitral valve of the heart. By regulating how blood flows between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart, the mitral valve is an opening that plays a critical role in heart function. The medical term stenosis basically refers to any kind of narrowing or constriction in a passageway such as a blood vessel or heart valve.

The heart is made up of four main chambers, the left and right atria which receive incoming blood, and the left and right ventricles, which pump blood out into the body. The valves, including the mitral valve, help to make sure that the right amount of blood flows between these two chambers. If too little blood flows through the mitral valve due to stenosis, it can lead to a wide range of health problems and complications.

Mitral Valves Stenosis Causes

Causes of mitral valve stenosis in children include congenital birth defects and Rheumatic fever. Both causes are rare, particularly in the United States and other developed countries where Rheumatic fever does not occur commonly.

Mitral Valve Stenosis Risk Factors

The primary risk factors for mitral valve stenosis are a family history of heart defects and untreated strep infections.

Mitral Valve Stenosis Symptoms

Symptoms of mitral valve stenosis usually develop as a result of pressure building in the heart that causes fluid buildup in the lungs. Common symptoms include:

  • Tightness and discomfort in the chest
  • Shortness of breath and fatigue
  • Swelling in the extremities
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Fluid in lungs
  • Coughing

Symptoms can worsen during periods of heightened activity, such as exercise or stress.

Mitral Valve Stenosis Complications

Long-term complications for babies and young children can include:

Diagnosing Mitral Valve Stenosis

Doctors usually diagnose mitral valve stenosis after a thorough physical examination that involves the following steps:

  • Review of symptoms
  • Questions about medical history and review of family medical history
  • A full physical evaluation
  • Diagnostic testing, including X-ray, Echocardiogram, and MRI

Mitral Valve Stenosis Treatment

Upon diagnosis, treatment options typically include:

  • Medication: Drug therapy, including blood thinners, beta blockers, antiarrhythmics, and diuretics, can help to address problems including blood clots, arrhythmia, and fluid buildup in the lungs. If an infection is the underlying cause, antibiotics will typically be used.
  • Surgery: If a defect in the mitral valve is causing severe complications, a surgical procedure such as a valve repair or valve replacement may be needed.
  • Lifestyle changes: In both mild and severe cases, taking steps to build a heart-healthy lifestyle for your child will still be recommended. Doctors may advise limiting strenuous activities while encouraging low-impact exercise and eating a heart healthy diet that limits sodium and other processed foods.

Caring for a Child with Mitral Valve Stenosis

If surgery is needed, children with mitral valve stenosis generally need ongoing monitoring and care before and after the procedure. This may include regular appointments and diagnostic tests to ensure the heart is functioning properly and the procedure was successful. Changes in activities and medications are also common treatments for infants, and children

There are many steps families can take to promote healthy activity and quality of life at any degree of mitral stenosis severity. To help with emotional and psychological needs, counseling and support groups can be extremely helpful. Many families also benefit from the support of pediatric home health services to help children dealing with mitral valve stenosis and related symptoms receive the care and support needed for a good quality of life.

From helping with medication and nutritional needs to providing respite care and accompaniment to appointments, a home health professional can fill a wide array of needs to help your family.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of skilled professionals at Care Options for Kids is here to help. We have been enforcing precautionary measures and following the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19 to ensure the safety and health of our clients and employees.

Our home health care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.

If you or a loved one are considering pediatric home health care services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.