Aortic stenosis (AS) is a narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart. This valve is located between the left ventricle (lower pumping chamber) and the aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It transports blood from the heart throughout the body. The aortic valve has three cusps, or flaps, that control the direction and flow of the blood. Aortic stenosis causes obstruction or blockage of blood flow through this valve.
The main causes of aortic stenosis include:
A birth defect of the aortic valve, which normally has three cusps:
An aortic valve that has only one cusp or is otherwise stenotic from birth
A bicuspid (two-part) aortic valve with progressive wear and tear
Progressive calcification of the aortic valve with age (most common in elderly)
If you have mild AS, your condition will be monitored, but may not need immediate treatment. If you have more severe AS, your doctor may advise you to avoid strenuous physical activity. If necessary, you may be given medications to help prevent heart failure.
A balloon device is passed through the arteries to open or enlarge the stenotic aortic valve. This may provide temporary relief of symptoms. However, since the valve can become blocked again, this treatment is not a permanent solution.
This is the surgical replacement of a defective heart valve. Currently, there are two types of replacement valves used:
Bioprostheses—These valves are made from animals such as cows or pigs, and may last about 10-15 years. Blood-thinning medication is usually not needed with this type of valve.
Mechanical prostheses—These synthetic valves are more durable, and may last for 20–40 years. However, you will be required to take blood-thinning medication for the rest of your life to prevent blood clots.
Aortic Valve Replacement—Mechanical (St. Jude) and Bioprostheses (Porcine) Valve Shown
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a