The heart is a wonderfully designed pump that takes care of proper functioning of the body. There are two separate channels, through which pure and impure blood flows through. Blood flow in these two designated networks is one-sided completely and controlled by valves. There are 2 sets of valves as below:
These valves are meant to be elastic and fibrous and open and close freely to allow for blood flow. Due to various reasons, they can become stenosed (hard and narrow) and depending on which valve is affected, complications arise accordingly.
The aortic valve is extremely important in that its proper functioning ensures that pure, oxygenated blood reaches various parts of the body. Due to various reasons, this valve may not open and/or close properly. Some causes include calcium deposits, advanced age, rheumatic fever, endocarditis, etc. With age or deposits, the valve opening can become narrow and reduce the amount of blood flowing into the aorta. The following symptoms and complications arise out of this.
Diagnosis: This could be diagnosed with routine medical exam when the heart is being checked or it could only be diagnosed when the symptoms are seen as above. Treatment is easier in the earlier case, and requires more rigorous attention.
Management: If the stenosis is mild and was detected on routine exam, then it needs to be monitored periodically. Surgery is usually not done, unless it is very severe. However, preventive measures can be taken including
If the stenosis is severe, then surgery is the only definitive treatment measure. Valve surgery can be either a
Though aortic stenosis is a serious condition, it is also rare and can be managed by adopting an overall healthy lifestyle.