History of Rheumatic Fever
The main risk factor for developing mitral valve stenosis is a history of rheumatic fever, a childhood infection related to untreated strep infections.
Rheumatic fever was once common in the United States, but became less frequent in the 20th century due to use of antibiotics. Still, there have been a few outbreaks since the 1980s. The illness remains common throughout much of the world. Rheumatic Fever results in scarring of the mitral valve.
Other Risk Factors
Other risk factors for mitral valve stenosis include:
- Female gender
- Men older than 65 and women older than 75 are prone to developing calcium and other deposits on their heart valves. These deposits stiffen and thicken the valve leaflets and limit blood flow
- Radiation treatment involving the chest area