Aortic valve stenosis — or aortic stenosis — occurs when the heart’s aortic valve narrows. This narrowing prevents the valve from opening fully, which reduces or blocks blood flow from your heart into the main artery to your body (aorta) and onward to the rest of your body.
Calcification of the aortic valve due to age or longstanding damage from previous infections, medications, or untreated hypertension are the primary cause. Some people who have a congenital condition called bicuspid aortic valves, in which the aortic valve has 2 cusps instead of 3, are more prone to stenosis later in life.
Signs and symptoms of aortic valve stenosis may include:
Risk factors of aortic valve stenosis include:
Most often aortic stenosis is diagnosed during a physical exam with a stethoscope by auscultating a murmur. Confirmation and severity are then determined by an echocardiogram or a cat scan or an MRI.
Severe cases may call for surgical correction via valve replacement. Alternatively, doctors may perform a less invasive procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to replace a narrowed aortic valve. TAVR may be an option for people who are considered to be at intermediate or high risk of complications from surgical aortic valve replacement.
Calcium reducing medication can also help slow the occurrence of calcium build up. Some possible ways to prevent aortic valve stenosis include:
Left untreated, Aortic Valve Stenosis can lead to left ventricular hypertrophy – an increase of the muscular wall of the heart due to the pressure against pumping blood into a narrow valve. This puts additional stress on the heart that can lead to heart failure and death.
Aortic valve stenosis can cause complications, including:
Aortic Stenosis can be caused by calcification of the aortic valve. Those with a bi-cuspid aortic valve are more likely to develop aortic stenosis later in life. It can be diagnosed with an echocardiogram and treated with valve replacement.