What is severe aortic stenosis?
Severe aortic stenosis is a narrowing of your aortic valve opening that does not allow normal blood flow.
What causes aortic stenosis?
It can be caused by birth defect, rheumatic fever, radiation therapy or it can be related to age.
In elderly patients, severe aortic stenosis is often caused by the build-up of calcium (mineral deposits) on the aortic valve’s leaflets. Over time the leaflets become stiff, reducing their ability to fully open and close.
What are the symptoms of aortic stenosis?
When the valve’s leaflets don’t fully open, your heart must work harder to push blood through the narrowed aortic valve to your body. As a result, the narrowed valve allows less oxygen-rich blood to flow from the lungs to the brain and rest of the body which may cause symptoms like severe shortness of breath and extreme fatigue.
How is aortic stenosis diagnosed?
An echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) is the primary imaging test used to diagnose severe aortic stenosis.
What is the risk of having severe aortic stenosis?
Eventually, your heart will get weaker, increasing your risk of heart failure. Severe aortic stenosis is a very serious problem. Without aortic valve replacement, 50 percent of patients will not survive more than an average of two years after they start having symptoms.