Understanding the Types of Heart Valve Stenosis

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Update Date 11/08/2020 . 4 mins read
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What are the types of heart valve stenosis?

To answer this question, it’s important to understand how heart valve disease affects the body.

The heart valve is responsible for maintaining the one-way flow of blood through your heart. If the heart valve is functioning properly, the blood flows forward freely and there is no backward leakage.

When the heart valve is not functioning properly, this is known as heart valve disease. 

There are two types of heart valve disease:

  • Valvular stenosis
  • Valvular regurgitation. 

Heart valve stenosis occurs when a heart valve does not fully open, affecting blood flow. The cause of this is stiff or fused leaflets.

When this happens, the heart has to work very hard to get the blood pumping through the leaflets. This can develop in any of the valves. 

Heart Valve Stenosis, Explained

The Types of Heart Valve Stenosis

There are four types of heart valve stenosis, which are: 

  • Tricuspid stenosis
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Mitral stenosis
  • Aortic stenosis

Tricuspid Valve Stenosis 

Tricuspid valve stenosis is a type of heart valve stenosis that involves the narrowing of the valve opening. This restricts the blood flow between the upper and lower part of the right side of the heart. This can lead to the right atrium becoming enlarged, which can affect the pressure and blood flow in the nearby chambers and veins.

Another effect of tricuspid valve stenosis is the possible shrinking of the right ventricle, because blood flow to the right atrium is reduced. This will lead to less blood being circulated to the lungs, which means less oxygen. 

The tricuspid valve stenosis is usually caused by infective endocarditis or rheumatic fever. Rarely, it is caused by a birth defect or tumors in the heart. 

Normal symptoms of tricuspid valve stenosis are: 

  • Mild palpitations
  • Cold skin
  • Fluttering discomfort in the chest
  • Fatigue

These symptoms can be normally treated with medicine and regular checkups. For severe cases, surgical repair or replacement of the valves may be recommended. As with many conditions affecting the heart, it’s best to note your symptoms and consult your doctor as needed.

What is Tricuspid Valve Disease?

Pulmonic Valve Stenosis 

The second type of heart valve stenosis is pulmonary valve stenosis, which is a deformity of the pulmonary valve. It causes a narrowing, and, therefore, the slowing down of the blood flow. This pulmonary valve is located between the lower right heart chamber and the pulmonary artery.

This type of heart valve stenosis normally develops before birth and is known as a congenital heart defect. These cases can be categorized as mild to severe.

Mild pulmonary stenosis is normally stable, but severe cases normally worsen and require surgery. Fortunately, most treatments have a high success rate, allowing the person to lead a normal life.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of pulmonary valve stenosis include:

  • Heart murmur
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

If you or your child experience the following, see your doctor for a prompt evaluation and treatment to minimize future complications.

Mitral Valve Stenosis

One of the types of heart valve stenosis involves the mitral valve.

This type of stenosis occurs when the opening of the heart is narrowed. The mitral valve keeps blood flowing from the left atrium to the left ventricle.

In mitral stenosis, the mitral valve does not open fully. This results in not having enough blood to flow through the heart. This leads to fatigue, blood clots, difficulty in breathing, and heart failure. 

Mitral valve stenosis is caused by rheumatic fever, the leading one cause behind this condition. However, there are cases that a congenital heart defect may cause this. Babies born with mitral valve stenosis will usually need surgery. 

Symptoms

Early mitral stenosis usually does not have symptoms. If you have mitral valve stenosis, you will need to watch out for:

  • Chest pains
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in the ankles or feet
  • Cough that may or may not have blood
  • Pinkish or purplish cheeks

Aortic Valve Stenosis

The last type of heart valve stenosis is the aortic valve stenosis, which affects the valve between the left ventricle and the aorta. In this type of stenosis, the aortic valve stiffens and won’t open all the way. Your heart therefore is forced to work harder in order to pump blood.

Aortic valve stenosis can be congenital. This is a condition you can have even before you are born. Sometimes, it can be an acquired condition, wherein a bacterial infection causes the hardening of the leaflets from calcium and fat deposits. This can also be a result of damage from a heart attack. 

Symptoms

Symptoms of aortic valve stenosis are similar to the mitral valve stenosis, except for the pink or purplish cheeks. This condition can be diagnosed with the use of an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart. 

Treatment

There are also non-surgical medical treatments that can be done to manage aortic valve stenosis and prevent it from developing into something worse. Medical management is an option as long as the aortic stenosis is not yet severe. The doctor may prescribe medications to help ease the burden on your heart. 

The other options to treat heart valve stenosis are to have a valvuloplasty or the trancatheter aortic valve replacement. This will allow the affected heart valve to be replaced using a catheter, which is less invasive than an actual surgical aortic valve replacement. 

Key Takeaways

Though there are four different types of heart valve stenosis, all of them can have significant detrimental effects on the heart and body. 

When you suffer from heart valve stenosis, your heart will need to work harder to provide the body with the necessary amount of blood and oxygen it needs. So to take better care of your heart, regular checkups, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly can make a huge difference.

Learn more about heart valve disease, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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