​​Mitral Valve Defect

Mitral valve defect occurs when the mitral valve malfunctions. Mitral valve is placed between the left atrium and the left ventricle in the heart. The heart contains four chamber; two upper chambers called atria and two lower chambers called ventricles. The oxygen-poor blood enters the right side of the heart from the rest of the body, which is then pumped to the lungs to be oxygenated. The oxygen-rich blood returns to the left side of the heart and from there, pumped to the rest of the body. In mitral valve defect, the blood is allowed to flow backwards; hence not enough blood is transported to the left ventricle to be pumped to the rest of the body.

Types of mitral valve defects include:

  • Mitral valve stenosis which is the narrowing of the mitral valve resulting in reduced blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle. It is usually caused by rheumatic fever, which is a serious complication of streptococcal sore throat. Other causes include blood clots, calcium build up, congenital heart defects, radiation treatments and tumours

  • Mitral valve regurgitation in which the mitral valve fails to close tightly allowing blood to leak backwards into the left atrium. It can be caused by endocarditis (inflammation of the heart’s lining and valve), heart attack and rheumatic fever. Children who experience this defect may also have other heart problems such as holes in the walls that separate the upper and lower chambers

  • Mitral valve prolapse in which the valves bulge instead of closing tightly. The valves collapse backwards with every pump of the heart. At times this can cause regurgitation. Mitral valve prolapse often runs in the family. Other causes include scoliosis, connective tissue problems, and Down’s syndrome.

Mitral valve defects may not pose a problem itself but it can lead to other serious threats like heart failure, if not treated timely.​

Mitral valve defects may not show any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fatigue

  • Light-headedness

  • Cough​

  • Chest pain

  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)​

Visit our doctors at the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital the only internationally accredited hospital in Pakistan, if you notice the above mentioned symptoms in your child.​

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.​

After learning about your child’s symptoms, the doctor may listen to your child’s heart using a stethoscope to determine the presence of heart murmurs (abnormal sounds that result due to the blood’s turbulent flow). They make recommend further test for an accurate diagnosis, including:

  • Echocardiogram in which sound waves, directed at the heart from a device (transducer) placed on the chest, are used to produce images of the heart. The doctor studies the images to see the valves and chambers of your child’s heart

  • ECG (Electrocardiogram) in which the electrical activity of the heart is recorded to detect any irregularity in the rhythm (arrhythmia) and structure

  • Chest X-ray to detect any enlargement of the heart 

  • Cardiac catheterization in which a thin tube (catheter) is inserted in the arm or groin and threaded up to the inside of the heart. This is done to inject a dye in the heart to clearly visualize its structure. This procedure is performed if the non-invasive tests fail to provide adequate information ​

If you have chosen the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital, for your child’s treatment, then you can be sure that your child is in good hands. Our team of doctors is highly competent and they are committed to providing quality healthcare. They realize your concern, as a parent, for the wellbeing of your child therefore they strive to achieve successful results from affective treatments all the while ensuring your child’s comfort.

The treatment plan devised will depend on your child’s age, general health, the type of the defect and your personal opinion. The treatment options include:​

  • Medications, to treat the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse, to:

    • ​slow your child’s heart rate

    • prevent clotting by thinning the blood

    • reduce accumulation of fluid in the lungs

    • treat arrhythmias​

  • Balloon valvuloplasty in which a soft thin tube (catheter) tipped with balloon is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin and threaded up to the heart, into the narrowed mitral valve. The balloon is inflated to push open the valve and improve blood flow. The catheter is removed after deflating the balloon. This procedure is more suitable for infants and children as compared to adults

  • Valve replacement surgery in which the defected mitral valve is replaced with mechanical valve or a biological valve made from human or animal tissues  

  • Valve repair surgery in which the doctors repair the existing mitral valve if there is enough tissue to work with​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.


Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​



The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.​