Aortic Stenosis

Aortic stenosis is the narrowing or obstruction of the heart's aortic valve, which prevents it from opening properly and blocks the flow of blood from the left ventricle to the aorta.

Risk factors

Aortic stenosis may be present from birth (congenital), or it may develop later in life (acquired).  Other risk factors include: 

  • hypertension

  • male gender

  • rheumatic fever

Symptoms

  • breathlessness with activity

  • chest pain, angina–type under the sternum, may radiate; crushing, squeezing, pressure, tightness; increased with exercise, relieved with rest

  • dizziness

  • fainting or weakness with activity

  • reduced stamina, fatigue

  • palpitations

Diagnostic Tools

Many tests are used to diagnose aortic valve disease.  Usually, more than one test will be done before a definitive diagnosis can be made. These tests may include:

  • physical examination and patient history   

  • ECG 

  • chest X–ray  

  • echocardiogram 

  • cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography  

  • cardiac CT angiography

Treatment Options

Heart valve surgery can be used to replace or repair damaged aortic valves:

  • aortic valve repair surgery corrects aortic insufficiency; the damaged valve is strengthened and shortened to help the valve close more tightly.

  • aortic valve replacement surgery corrects both aortic stenosis and insufficiency. 

Surgeons may consider replacing the original valve with either:

  • mechanical valves, created from man–made materials, which require long-term blood thinning with warfarin medication. 

  • biological (tissue) valves

Prevention

Steps to prevent or to reduce the risk of aortic stenosis include:

  • telling your health care provider if there is a family history of congenital heart diseases

  • telling your health care provider about any history of heart valve disease

  • consider treatment of elevated cholesterol which may prevent or delay worsening of aortic stenosis

Diagrams:
Click images to enlarge
 



Filling Heart 

 

 


Contracting Heart 

 

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