Know the basics
1. What is aortic valve disease?
Aortic valve disease is a condition in which the valve between the main pumping chamber of your heart (left ventricle) and the main artery to your body (aorta) doesn’t work properly.
More specifically, this disease can be classified into two different types:
- Aortic valve stenosis. The opening of your aortic valve is narrower than it should be resulting in restricted blood flow to the aorta.
- Aortic valve regurgitation. Some of the blood leaks back into your left ventricle because your aortic valve doesn’t close tightly enough.
Both forms of aortic valve disease have similar symptoms, such as chest pain during exercise that eases when you’re at rest; fatigue; shortness of breath. Besides, they have different symptoms.
Typically, the common symptoms of aortic valve stenosis are:
- Swollen ankles
- Rapid or fluttering pulse
- Declined activity level
- Heart murmur
Generally, the common symptoms of aortic valve regurgitation are:
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty breathing when lying down
- Swollen ankles and feet
Diagnosis & Treatments
1. How is aortic valve disease diagnosed?
To diagnose aortic valve disease, your doctor will ask you questions about your health history. Also, your doctor may recommend the following test to diagnose aortic valve disease:
- Electrocardiogram. This test can measure electrical impulses from your heart to provide information on heart rhythm.
- Exercise tests, which can measure how your heart responds to exertion.
- An echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves to create an image of your heart and aortic valve.
- X-ray can be used to diagnose aortic valve disease.
- A cardiac catheterization. This procedure uses a dye to highlight any leaks in the heart valves.
- A cardiac magnetic resonance imaging test. This test uses magnetic field and radio waves to provide detailed pictures of your heart and aortic root.
2. How is aortic valve disease treated?
Currently, there are no medications available to treat aortic valve stenosis or regurgitation. However, your doctor can prescribe medications to reduce the effects of the disease.
In the case of aortic valve stenosis, your doctor may recommend the use of drugs to control disturbances in your heart’s rhythm. Beta and calcium blockers can help with angina. Statin drugs can be used to lower blood cholesterol levels. Possible treatments may include valve repair or valve replacement.
In the case of aortic regurgitation, medications can lower your blood pressure and prevent the buildup of fluid. Mild aortic valve regurgitation may be treatable with medications, which reduce blood clotting and reduce the risk of stroke, but surgical repairs or replacement are often needed.
What causes aortic valve disease?
A buildup of calcium on aortic valve’s leaflets can cause aortic stenosis. As blood flows through your heart, calcium gradually builds up on the leaflets and calcium deposit can cause the leaflets to narrow the aortic valve. In addition, rheumatic fever and scarlet fever can also be the causes of aortic valve stenosis.
Some causes of aortic valve regurgitation are the weakening of the valve tissue due to aging, high blood pressure, bacterial infection of the heart tissue, syphilis, injury. Another cause of aortic regurgitation is a congenital heart defect at birth. It may not show any symptoms until adulthood, when the valve finally begins to show signs of leaking.
2. Risk factors
There are many risk factors for aortic valve disease, such as:
- Aging. Aortic valve stenosis mainly affects older people, which is the result of scarring and calcium buildup in the valve cusp.
- Medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, endocarditis, congenital heart defect.
Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.
GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Aortic valve disease. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/aortic-valve-disease/basics/definition/con-20032612 Accessed January 08, 2017
Aortic valve disease. http://www.healthline.com/health/aortic-valve-disease#CausesandRisks3 Accessed January 08, 2017
Problem: Aortic Valve Stenosis. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/HeartValveProblemsandDisease/Problem-Aortic-Valve-Stenosis_UCM_450437_Article.jsp#.WHH6F9T0HQg Accessed January 08, 2017
Problem: Aortic Valve Regurgitation. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/HeartValveProblemsandDisease/Problem-Aortic-Valve-Regurgitation_UCM_450611_Article.jsp#.WHH8ENT0HQg Accessed January 08, 2017