Aortic stenosis

Aortic stenosis

Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening which restricts the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. It is one of the most serious valve diseases as it affects the pressure in the left atrium which can be fatal.

Aortic valve stenosis causes include:

  • Congenital heart defect
    Some children are born with a bicuspid (two cusps) aortic valve, which causes problems when the child grows up.
  • Calcium buildup on the valve
    A significant amount of calcium deposits on the aortic valve affect its functioning.
  • Rheumatic fever
    It damages the heart valves due to formation of scar tissue on them.

Certain risk factors like age, pre-existing heart conditions, chronic kidney disease, diabetes and history of radiation therapy to the chest increase the chances of developing aortic stenosis.

Aortic stenosis produces symptoms only when the blood flow is restricted to a significant level. These include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Swelling in feet and ankles

Aortic stenosis diagnosis is made based on the symptoms, physical examination and performing diagnostic tests. A heart murmur, a key indicator of aortic stenosis is often heard using a stethoscope. Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) helps determine the severity of the aortic valve stenosis. Electrocardiogram (ECG) measures the electrical activity of the heart and helps detect any abnormality in that. An exercise stress test measures the functioning of the heart during a period of activity. Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan helps measure the size of the aorta and details of the aortic valve. Cardiac catheterization helps visualize the heart, measure its functioning and determine if there is an aortic valve stenosis.

Aortic stenosis treatment depends on the stage at which it is diagnosed.

Medications like blood thinners are prescribed for milder cases

Surgery is required for advanced cases. This includes:

  • Valve repair
    This is done using balloon valvuloplasty where the balloon widens the narrowed aortic valve.
  • Valve replacement
    In cases where the valve cannot be repaired, the valve is repaired with a donor valve, mechanical valve or a bioprosthetic valve.

Untreated aortic stenosis can lead to severe complications. Most people do not survive longer without treatment. Even a delay in treatment can worsen the condition and cause more damage to the heart. Timely treatment improves the survival rate and overall quality of life of patients with aortic stenosis.

The Centre for Cardiac Sciences at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore has a high success rate in treating patients with aortic stenosis. The Centre has the best cardiac surgeons in Indore who treat aortic stenosis using minimally invasive techniques. Patients visiting the Centre receive the best cardiac treatment and are looked after with compassion and care.