Why Aortic Stenosis Is Dangerous
The aortic valve controls the flow of blood out of your heart to the rest of your body. A normal valve needs to open wide to allow the blood to flow to the rest of the body. In severe aortic stenosis, the opening can shrink to the size of the head of a golf tee. As the valve narrows, the left side of the heart has to work harder. This results in the left side of the heart enlarging so it can pump harder. If left untreated, the heart weakens, and can lead to the development of heart failure. Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
Having these symptoms means your aortic stenosis has become severe. When you have severe aortic stenosis, sudden death becomes a higher risk. Without symptoms, the chance of dying suddenly from the disease is less than 1%. Once symptoms develop, the risk goes up to 34%.
What causes Aortic Stenosis?
Aortic valve stenosis isn’t considered preventable, and presently it’s not known why some people develop this condition. However, some risk factors include:
- A deformed aortic valve – A bicuspid aortic valve can be a hereditary condition. If your close relatives, such as your parent, sibling or child had a bicuspid aortic valve, it is reasonable to check to see if you have this abnormality.
- Age – Aortic valve stenosis may be related to increasing age and the buildup of calcium deposits on heart valves.
- Previous rheumatic fever – Rheumatic fever can cause the flaps (leaflets) of your aortic valve to stiffen and fuse, eventually resulting in aortic valve stenosis.
- Chronic kidney disease – The condition is also associated with chronic kidney disease.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and smoking are also common risk factors for the condition.
Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may suggest these treatments:
- Surgery – some procedures include balloon valvuloplasty, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), Aortic valve replacement or surgical valvuloplasty.
Take Home Points:
- Aortic stenosis usually gets worse gradually over time.
- The greatest danger from severe aortic stenosis is heart failure, which can lead to death.
- Successful valve replacement surgery restores normal life expectancy.
If you or your loved ones would like to undergo a cardiac screening, call us at +65 6679 7867 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our friendly medical concierge will be on hand to assist you.