The aortic valve plays a crucial role in effective blood circulation. It is located between the body's main artery (aorta) and the heart's left ventricle. When the ventricle contracts, the valve opens to allow blood to move into the aorta and through to the rest of the body. However, when this valve is damaged, the body's entire circulatory system can suffer. Of the problems that may affect the aortic valve, aortic stenosis is the most common.
What is Aortic Stenosis?
Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the opening of the aortic valve. As this opening becomes smaller, blood has more difficulty flowing from the ventricle into the aorta. Over time, as the heart works ever harder to pump enough blood to the rest of the body, patients may begin to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and palpitations.
Why is Aortic Stenois Dangerous?
Weakening of the heart and thickening of the ventricle wall from aortic stenosis can lead to some serious health concerns over time. Among the conditions which may befall patients are:
- Heart failure
- Blood clots
- Endocarditis (infection of the heart)
How can Aortic Stenosis be Treated?
Treatment of aortic stenosis will depend on the severity of the condition, a fact which cannot be determined by symptoms alone. In order to determine the best course of treatment, a physician will likely order one more imaging tests such as an x-ray, CT, or MRI. Based on the findings of these tests, a cardiologist may recommend healthy lifestyle changes and ongoing monitoring of the condition. This is most likely if the condition is found to be less advanced and is causing few to no symptoms. However, in the event of more severe cases of aortic stenosis, surgery may be needed to repair or replace the diseased valve.
If you are suffering from potential symptoms of aortic stenosis or have previously been diagnosed, the physicians at Cardiovascular Institute of the South can help. To get started with a member of our team, click the button below, and request an appointment at any of our locations.