Aortic Stenosis is a narrowing or construction of the aortic valve. Aortic stenosis impedes blood flow from the left ventricle into the aorta, and may lead to congestive heart failure.
Some of the causes of aortic stenosis include calcification of the valve due to age, congenital defects, and damage to the valve as a result of rheumatic fever.
Symptoms may include:
- Fainting/pre-fainting episodes, and passing out
- Chest pain (angina)/chest pressure
- Shortness of breath
The presence of symptoms becomes an important development over the course of aortic stenosis. When symptoms are present in a patient, the odds of death from the disease process rise significantly. An operation may be necessary to prevent the death of the patient.
Any of the following conditions may indicate the need for aortic valve replacement, even in the absence of symptoms:
- Evidence of weakening of the heart muscles, found during echocardiogram or heart catheterization.
- Enlargement of the heart.
- A pressure gradient of 50 mmHg (mercury) or greater.
- A valve area of less than 1.0 cm squared.