Aortic Valve Stenosis


Chest | Cardiology | Aortic Valve Stenosis (Disease)


Description

Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve, reducing the flow of blood into the circulation.

Symptoms of aortic stenosis include: breathlessness with activity; chest pain, angina-type (crushing, squeezing, pressure, tightness; pain increases with exercise, relieved with rest; under the chest bone, may move to other areas), fainting, weakness, or dizziness with activity, sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations). Infants and children with aortic stenosis may be extremely tired, sweaty, and have pale skin and fast breathing. They may also be smaller than other children their age.

Causes and Risk factors

A number of conditions cause disease resulting in narrowing of the aortic valve. When the degree of narrowing becomes significant enough to impede the flow of blood from the left ventricle to the arteries, heart problems develop.

Aortic stenosis may be present from birth (congenital), or it may develop later in life (acquired). In adults, three conditions are known to cause aortic stenosis: progressive wear and tear of a bicuspid valve present since birth (congenital), wear and tear of the aortic valve in the elderly, scarring of the aortic valve due to rheumatic fever as a child or young adult. In adults, aortic stenosis occurs most commonly in those whove had rheumatic fever, a condition that may develop after strep throat or scarlet fever. Bicuspid aortic valve is the most common cause of aortic stenosis in patients under age 65.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The following tests may be performed: chest x-ray, Doppler echocardiography, ECG, exercise stress testing, left cardiac catheterization, MRI of the heart, transesophageal echocardiogram.

Medications sometimes can ease symptoms of aortic valve stenosis. However, the only way to eliminate aortic valve stenosis is surgery to repair or replace the valve and open up the passageway....