Aortic valve disease is a cardiological condition that occurs when the the aortic valve becomes stiff, narrow, or misshapen. 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.
There are two types of aortic valve disease: regurgitation and stenosis. Regurgitation is when the valve fails to close properly, allowing blood to flow backward from the aorta into the ventricle. Stenosis is when the tissue of the valve or the aorta starts to thicken or becomes stiff, narrowing the valve opening and preventing proper blood flow out of the heart.
The cardiologists and specialists at Dignity Health Southern California are here to help keep your heart as healthy as possible. To learn more about our expert heart services and treatment for aortic valve disease at one of our convenient locations in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and San Bernardino, Find a Doctor today.
Aortic Valve Disease Causes
Some cases of aortic valve disease are congenital (present since birth). For acquired cases of aortic valve disease, the most common causes are:
- Stiffening of the valve due to calcium deposits as a result of aging
- Congestive heart failure
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Aortic valve infection
- Aortic stenosis, when the wall of the aorta becomes thick and inflexible
- Weakening of the valve tissue with age
Aortic Valve Disease Symptoms
Often, aortic valve disease presents few or no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, the most common signs and symptoms of aortic valve disease include:
- Chest pain, discomfort, or pressure
- Heart murmur
- Shortness of breath, especially with physical exertion
- Heart palpitations
Treatment & Prevention of Aortic Valve Disease at Dignity Health Southern California
Treatment and prevention of aortic valve disease focuses on slowing the progression of the disease and restoring the aortic valve to full function.
For aortic valve regurgitation, treatment options generally include medications for mild cases and valve repair or replacement surgery for advanced cases.
Medications are not available to treat aortic valve stenosis. If your case is not severe, your doctor may suggest a watchful waiting approach. Serious cases of aortic valve stenosis generally require surgery to repair or replace the valve.
You can help prevent aortic valve disease by promptly treating heart-related conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol and by following a heart-healthy diet and exercise program. Partner with our heart care team to start a plan for preventative care.
Dignity Health’s heart care team provides comprehensive treatment and compassionate care for aortic valve disease in Southern California.