Aortic Stenosis—Adult

(Stenosis, Aortic—Adult; AS—Adult)

Definition

The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body. The aorta supplies blood throughout the body. Aortic stenosis (AS) is a narrowing of the aortic valve that could block blood flow from the heart and cause a back-up of flow and pressure in the heart and to the lungs. AS can range from mild to severe.

Causes

The main causes of AS include:
  • A birth defect of the aortic valve, which normally has three cusps:
    • A two-part aortic valve becomes stenotic with progressive wear and tear
    • An aortic valve that has only one cusp or has stenosis from birth
  • Progressive hardening and calcification of the aortic valve with age
  • Scarring of the aortic valve caused by rheumatic fever —rare

Risk Factors

This condition is more common in men.Factors that may increase the risk of AS include:
  • Family members with heart disease that affects the valves
  • History of rheumatic fever
  • Hypertension
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Smoking

Symptoms

AS does not always produce symptoms. But if symptoms do occur, they may include:
  • Extreme fatigue after exercise or exertion
  • Fainting with exercise or exertion
  • Pain, squeezing, pressure, or tightness of the chest usually occurring with exertion
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness with exertion
  • Neurological symptoms of a stroke or transient ischemic attack
In rare cases, AS can cause abnormal heart rhythms known as arrhythmia , or sudden death with no previous symptoms.

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