Aortic valve stenosis is a type of heart disease that affects the heart valves. If left untreated, it can lead to heart failure.
What Is Aortic Valve Stenosis?
The aortic valve is located at the top of the left ventricle of the heart and leads to the aorta, the major large blood vessel in your body. The aortic valve has flaps (called cusps or leaflets) that are forced open, allowing blood to flow into the aorta. The leaflets then close to prevent the blood from leaking back into the ventricle.
Aortic valve stenosis occurs when calcium deposits on the valve cause the leaflets to become stiff. Over time, the valve opening narrows, obstructing blood flow and forcing the heart to pump harder.
Symptoms of Aortic Valve Stenosis
Heart valve disease does not often have obvious symptoms. It may go undetected for quite some time. Symptoms of severe aortic stenosis include:
- Chest pain or tightness (also called angina)
- Feeling faint or fainting upon exertion
- Shortness of breath upon exertion
- Reduced exercise capacity
Treatment for Aortic Valve Stenosis at St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute
Aortic valve replacement is the standard treatment for severe aortic stenosis.
At St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute, our doctors offer two options:
Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR): This open-heart surgical procedure has traditionally been the primary surgical treatment for aortic valve stenosis.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR): This less invasive procedure for heart valve replacement enables us to replace the aortic valve without opening the chest, as is necessary during the traditional SAVR.
Your doctor will help determine which procedure is most appropriate for you.