Aortic Stenosis 101

Aortic stenosis is a form of aortic valve disease. With this condition, the aortic valve’s flaps (cusps) have thickened or become stiff and could possibly fuse together, which narrows the valve. Because of this, the valve’s opening is narrowed and blocks or reduces blood flow from the heart into the aorta and to the rest of the body. Aortic stenosis is also referred to as a tight aortic valve.

When the aortic valve is tight, there is greater stress on the heart and less blood going elsewhere in the body. When a person has aortic stenosis, the aortic valve does not open properly, so it is harder for blood to leave the heart.

If a person has a serious case of aortic stenosis, the stress placed on the heart can potentially lead to heart failure and death. If the heart is working harder to pump the blood out because of the stenosis, the heart muscle becomes thicker, which can lead to congestion and congestive heart failure.

Most people who develop aortic stenosis are older in age. Over time, the aortic valve just becomes damaged from wear and tear. The degeneration of the aortic valve leads to a build up of calcium, which makes the valve become less mobile, which is what restricts the valve from opening easily.

Mild aortic stenosis usually isn’t a problem, but severe aortic stenosis can have bad side effects that can lead to worse complications. When a person has severe aortic stenosis and is experiencing symptoms or signs of heart weakness, he or she should seek treatment. Some signs and symptoms of aortic stenosis include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, passing out, and fatigue. Patients with severe aortic stenosis need treatment or they will not survive past a few more years.

A heart valve specialist can determine the severity of your aortic stenosis. A doctor can diagnose your aortic stenosis through listening for a murmur through a stethoscope, listening for a certain type of pulse, from an echocardiogram, and through a stress test.

Aortic stenosis must be treated through surgery. Medicine cannot treat this condition. A patient will need either an aortic valve repair or an aortic valve replacement. Not everyone is an eligible candidate for this surgery. To get this surgery, the benefits must be greater than the risks for the patient.

Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who performs TAVR and mini-AVR on his patients with aortic valve stenosis and aortic valve disease. To learn more about this surgery, click his aortic valve surgery page.

Looking for an Tampa Aortic Valve Surgeon?

If you have aortic valve disease, it’s time to talk to a heart valve surgeon to see if you are a candidate for aortic valve surgery. Dr. Peter Mikhail is a heart valve surgeon who specializes in mini-AVR and TAVR. To book a consult, click our heart valve surgery page or call 727-312-4844. He is based in New Port Richey, Florida, and treats patients in the Tampa and Clearwater area.

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