Mitral Stenosis and Insufficiency
Before reading this section you should make sure you know the basic structure,
nomenclature and function of the four heart valves. Click
here to see the valves in action during the cardiac cycle (requires flash).
Mitral stenosis is caused by the thickening of the flaps of the mitral valve. This thickening combined sometimes with deposits of thrombus can cause extreme stenosis. If the condition becomes extremely severe heart failure can result.
Mitral stenosis can only be fixed with a heart valve replacement operation.
Mitral insufficiency is most often caused by a condition known as "floppy valve". In a floppy valve one or more of the flaps of the valve balloon upward into the atrium, leaving a small gap through which the blood can regurgitate.
Less severe cases of mitral insufficiency can be controlled by drugs such as diuretics. More severe cases require heart valve replacement surgery.