Aortic Valve Disease

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Overview

Aortic valve disease is a condition in which the valve between the main pump chamber of the heart (left ventricle) and the body aorta (aorta) does not function properly. Aortic valve disease can be a condition existing at birth (congenital heart disease), or it can be due to other causes.

For types of aortic valve disease,

Aortic valve stenosis

In this state, the flap (cusp) of the aortic valve may thicken or become stiff, sometimes fusing together. This causes stenosis of the aortic valve opening. A stenosed valve can not be opened completely. This reduces or blocks blood flow from the heart to the aorta and other bodies.

Aortic valve regurgitation

In this state, the aortic valve does not properly close and the blood flows back to the left ventricle.

Your treatment depends on the type and severity of the aortic valve disease. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the aortic valve.

Symptoms

Some people suffering from aortic valve disease may have not experienced symptoms for years. Signs and symptoms of aortic valve disease include,

  • Unusual heart sounds heard with a stethoscope (heart murmur)
  • Shortness of breath, especially when you are very active or sleeping
  • dizzy
  • syncope
  • Chest pain and tension
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Fatigue after active or non-active ability declines
    Not eating enough (mainly a child with aortic valve stenosis)
  • We can not obtain enough weight (mainly a child with aortic stenosis)
  • Ankle and foot swelling

When going to see a doctor

If you have heart murmurs, your doctor recommends you go to a cardiologist. If symptoms suggestive of aortic valve disease appear, please consult your doctor.

Causes

There are four valves in your heart that allow blood to flow in the correct direction. These valves include mitral valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve and aortic valve. Each valve has a flap (tines or leaflets) that opens and closes once during each beat. In some cases, because the valve does not open and close properly, blood flow in the heart may be disturbed and the ability to pump blood into the body may be compromised.

In aortic valve disease, the aortic valve between the left lower ventricle (left ventricle) and the main artery delivering blood from the heart to the body (the aorta) does not function properly. Blood may flow back to the left ventricle (backflow), the valve may narrow (stenosis).

Aortic valve disease can be caused by heart failure present at birth (congenital). It may also be caused by other conditions including cardiac age-related changes, infection, hypertension, or damage to the heart.

Risk Factor

Risk factors for aortic valve disease include,

  • Old age
  • Specific cardiac disease existing at birth (congenital heart disease)
  • History of possible infections that may affect the heart
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • History of radiotherapy to the chest

Complications

Aortic valve disease can cause complications including:

  • heart failure
  • stroke
  • Blood mass
  • Cardiac rhythm abnormality
  • death

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