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Do I need surgery for decreasing valve size?

Q: I am 27 years old. I went for a routine health check up, where it was found that one of my inner heart valve's size was decreasing. It has further reduced from 1.35 to 1.2 cm square. Currently I am taking Penidure LA 24 once in three weeks. What treatment should I avail and what diet should be taken? What is the success rate of the operation for this problem?

A:You probably have mitral stenosis due to rheumatic heart disease. In this disease, following a throat infection that you may have had many years ago (your joints might have become swollen at that time), the valve edges get sticky and later scarred. As these valves are constantly in use although the disease is no longer active the valve scarring gradually increases with time. When the valve area gets to around 1 sq. cm and if you are breathless with exercise, you may need a balloon dilatation. This is a safe procedure that increases the area to around 1.8 sq.cm and your symptoms will disappear. You may need a redilatation of the valve 7 to 10 years later. The final solution will be replacement of the valve with an artificial one, but this is not necessary if simple balloon dilatation (expanding the opening by inflating a balloon placed in the valve) can help. Dietary changes have no bearing except that salt restriction might help in decreasing breathlessness. You should probably continue Penidure till the age of 35 years.

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