How Is Mitral Valve Disease Diagnosed?

Mitral valve disease is a condition which is caused due to problems in the mitral valve of the heart. Mitral valve is present between both the left chambers of the heart- the left atrium and the left ventricle. Any problem in this valve will result in a backflow of blood in the left atrium. As a result, the main pumping chamber of the heart-the left ventricle, will not have enough blood to pump to the rest of the body, which can cause various hazardous effects. Mitral valve disease has different types- mitral valve regurgitation and mitral valve stenosis.

How Is Mitral Valve Disease Diagnosed?

  • Your physician will take a detailed history of your signs and symptoms
  • He will conduct a physical examination, in which he will try to listen for a heart murmur with a stethoscope
  • This can be indicative of a valve problem
  • Your physician will then ask you to take several tests which will establish a confirmatory diagnosis of any mitral valve disease
  • He will then refer you to a cardiologist, who will attend to you thereafter

The tests that a physician may advise you to take may include one or many of the following-

Echocardiography

  • In this test for diagnosing mitral valve disease, sound waves are directed at your heart from a transducer, which is a wand-like device that is held on your chest
  • It produces video images of your heart in motion
  • This test will evaluate the structure of your heart, the valves and the blood flow through your heart
  • It will also project the pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs
  • An echocardiogram will help your doctor to look closely at your mitral valve and its functioning
  • A 3-D echocardiogram may be used by some doctors
  • A trans-esophageal echocardiogram may be conducted by some doctors. This test gives a closer look at the mitral valve than a normal echocardiogram

Electrocardiogram

  • This is well-known to people by the name of ECG
  • In this test for diagnosing mitral valve disease, electrodes are attached to pads on your chest, which measure electrical impulses from your heart
  • With the help of this test, the doctor can detect enlarged chambers of the heart, heart diseases and abnormal heart rhythms

X-ray chest

  • An X- ray of chest for diagnosing mitral valve disease will tell your doctor whether your heart is enlarged, which can be indicative of certain types of heart valve disease
  • An X- ray chest will also tell doctors about the condition of your lungs

Cardiac MRI

  • This test is used by using magnetic fields and radio waves and create detailed images of your heart
  • This test can help tell the severity of your mitral valve disease

Stress tests

These tests help in determining your tolerance to activity and also monitor your heart’s response to exertion

Cardiac catheterization

  • This test is not an often used one for diagnosis of mitral valve disease
  • This test is generally used when other tests and procedures fail to give a result
  • This test is also used to check for the presence of a coronary artery disease
  • This test may also be used to plan an appropriate treatment strategy for your condition

Treatment Of Mitral Valve Disease

The treatment of mitral valve disease depends upon the severity of your symptoms and the progress of the disease. Mild to moderate cases or cases that do not present with any symptoms, may not require any treatment at all for many years. However, sometimes you may experience a sudden onset of symptoms or worsening of your condition, which may call for a prompt treatment. Your doctor will, therefore, monitor regularly to track the functioning of your heart.

Mitral valve disease is a condition that affects the pumping of the blood to various parts of the body. While there is no medicine to correct the impairment in the valve, there are medicines and procedures that can improve your symptoms, improve the functioning of the heart and prevent any future complications.

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