Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart. This restricts blood flow through the valve. The heart then needs to squeeze (contract) harder to pump blood into the aorta.
Aortic Stenosis Causes
Congenital Heart Disease – the baby is born with heart abnormalities. For example, the Aortic Valve may be smaller than it should be.
Valve Abnormalities – some people are born with minor abnormalities of the aortic valve. Over time, these abnormalities may cause the valve to narrow.
Rheumatic Heart Disease – is a condition that can scar the aortic valve and narrow its opening.
Calcium Deposits – a build-up of calcium can stiffen the aortic valve and interfere with its proper functioning. This is the most common cause of aortic stenosis in people aged 70 years and over.
Aortic Stenosis Symptoms
1. If the valve is only mildly narrowed (stenosed) you are not likely to have any symptoms.
2. If the narrowing becomes worse the left ventricle has to work harder to pump blood into the aorta. The wall of the ventricle becomes thickened (hypertrophied). Symptoms that may then develop include:
3. Dizziness and faints (especially on exertion) due to the restricted blood supply.
4. Chest pain (angina) when you exert yourself. This occurs because of the increased need for oxygen by the thickened ventricle and because of reduced blood flow to the coronary arteries.
5. Irregular heartbeat which you may feel as the sensation of a ‘thumping heart’ (palpitations).
6. If the narrowing is severe the left ventricle may not function properly and you can develop heart failure. This causes shortness of breath, tiredness and fluid build-up in various tissues of the body.
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