Aortic stenosis is narrowing of the aortic valve. The aortic valve opens to allow blood to exit the contracting left ventricle into the aorta. as the valve become more and more narrowed, blood cannot exit, and the flow of blood (cardiac output) diminishes. Aortic stenosis is also commonly a result of rheumatic heart disease, aging and calcification of the valve, or from congenital bicuspid aortic valve.
A bicuspid aortic valve has only two valve leaflets instead of the normal three. As a result, the geometry of the valve is not perfect, and the valve is more likely to deteriorate with age. Typically, a person with a bicuspid aortic valve will require surgical replacement of that valve in midlife (age 50 to 60).
Severe aortic stenosis typically causes shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or fainting spells.
Initial treatment includes treatment of congestive heart failure and correcting any induced abnormal heart rhythm. Eventual valve-replacement surgery or dilation of the valve with a balloon is usually required.