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Aortic Valve Disease

Aortic valve disease is a condition in which the valve between the left ventricle and the aorta doesn’t work properly. Aortic valve disease may be a condition present at birth, or it may result from other causes.

The most common types of aortic valve disease include:

  • Aortic valve stenosis – In this condition, the cusps of the aortic valve may become thickened and stiff, or they may fuse together. This causes narrowing of the aortic valve opening. The narrowed valve isn’t able to open fully, which reduces or blocks blood flow from your heart into your aorta and the rest of your body.
  • Aortic valve regurgitation – In this condition, the aortic valve doesn’t close properly, causing blood to flow backward into the left ventricle.

Signs & Symptoms

Some people with aortic valve disease may not experience symptoms for many years. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Heart murmur
  • Shortness of breath, particularly when you have been very active or when you lie down
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fatigue after being active or having less ability to be active
  • Not eating enough (mainly in children with aortic valve stenosis)
  • Not gaining enough weight (mainly in children with aortic valve stenosis)

Diagnosis

To diagnose aortic valve disease, a physician at Deborah Heart and Lung Center may review the patient’s signs and symptoms, discuss medical history, and conduct a physical examination. The doctor may listen to the heart with a stethoscope to detect a heart murmur that may indicate an aortic valve condition.

The following tests may be ordered:

  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Cardiac MRI
  • Exercise tests or stress tests
  • Cardiac catheterization