Patients with symptomatic mitral stenosis should undergo evaluation with transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography (Table 1). Those patients with suitable valve morphology should be treated with percutaneous transvenous mitral commissurotomy (PTMC). Randomized trials of catheter commissurotomy have shown no differences in long-term outcome compared with surgical commissurotomy; there is therefore no role for surgical commissurotomy in patients who are suitable candidates for balloon commissurotomy. Mitral valve replacement should be recommended for those patients with valve deformity too severe to undergo catheter therapy. Some older patients who are less-than-ideal candidates for catheter therapy nonetheless may benefit from it as a palliative alternative to otherwise high-risk valve surgery. Asymptomatic patients should be screened for the presence of pulmonary artery hypertension. Those who have pulmonary artery systolic pressure at rest of greater than 50 mm Hg or who develop pulmonary artery systolic pressure of greater than 60 mm Hg with exercise should be considered for PTMC.
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