The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body. The aorta supplies blood throughout the body. Aortic stenosis (AS) is a narrowing of the aortic valve that could block blood flow from the heart and cause a back-up of flow and pressure in the heart and to the lungs. AS can range from mild to severe.
The main causes of AS include:
This condition is more common in men.
Factors that may increase the risk of AS include:
AS does not always produce symptoms. But if symptoms do occur, they may include:
In rare cases, AS can cause abnormal heart rhythms known as arrhythmia, or sudden death with no previous symptoms.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may be alerted to AS by the following:
Images may need to be taken of your chest. This can be done with:
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. If needed, you may be prescribed medication, and surgery may be required.
You may be prescribed vasodilators to widen your blood vessels and/or statins to lower cholesterol.
Surgical options include:
AS cannot be prevented. But if you have AS, there are several things you can do to try to avoid some of the complications, such as:
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery
Premedication (antibiotics). American Dental Association's Mouth Healthy website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/p/Premedication-or-Antibiotics.aspx. Accessed August 20, 2014.
Infective endorcarditis. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/TheImpactofCongenitalHeartDefects/Infective-Endocarditis_UCM_307108_Article.jsp. Updated August 4, 2014. Accessed August 20, 2014.
Aortic stenosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 18, 2014. Accessed August 20, 2014.
Valve replacement in patients with aortic stenosis. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65:2342.
Last reviewed August 2014 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
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 medical condition.