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Trusted Treatment for Aortic Valve Disease


The aortic valve allows blood to exit the heart and enter the aorta. The aorta then circulates the oxygen-rich blood throughout the rest of the body. Aortic valve disease is a heart condition that occurs when the aortic valve becomes narrow, misshapen, or stiff. 

Aortic valve disease usually falls into two types: stenosis and regurgitation. Stenosis is narrowing of the valve opening, which prevents blood from flowing out of the heart properly. Regurgitation is the backward flow of blood into the ventricle from the aorta because the valve fails to close properly.

Our heart care teams at Dignity Health offer state-of-the-art diagnostics and advanced cardiac treatments for aortic valve disease in the Bay Area. For a diagnosis of aortic valve disease in the Bay Area, Find a Doctor who’s right for you.

Aortic Valve Disease Symptoms

Aortic valve disease produces few or no symptoms, so many people never know they have it. When symptoms of aortic valve disease do occur, they include:

  • Chest pain, pressure, or discomfort
  • Heart murmur 
  • Pounding heart
  • Shortness of breath

Causes of Aortic Valve Disease

Some cases of aortic valve disease are congenital, which means you are born with the condition. For acquired (noncongenital) aortic valve disease, the most common causes are:

  • Aortic stenosis, which causes the aorta wall to become thick and inflexible
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Infection of the aortic valve
  • Stiffening of the valve due to calcium deposits (calcification)
  • Weakening of the valve tissue with age

Treatment & Prevention for Aortic Valve Disease

Our treatment and prevention strategies focus on slowing the progression of damage and restoring the aortic valve to full function. 

Because medications don’t work for aortic valve stenosis, your doctor may suggest a watchful waiting approach. Surgery to replace or repair the valve is generally required for severe aortic valve stenosis.

Medications can be used to treat mild aortic valve regurgitation, however advanced disease requires valve repair or replacement surgery.

Because many cases of aortic valve disease are due to normal age-related changes to the tissue, it’s not always preventable. However, you can help prevent aortic valve disease by following a heart-healthy diet and exercise program and by promptly treating heart-related conditions such as high cholesterol and hypertension. 

Are you concerned about your risk of aortic valve disease? Take our online heart risk assessment and talk to a doctor at Dignity Health to make a personalized treatment plan.

Dignity Health is committed to providing advanced treatment for aortic valve disease in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.