What is it?

Aortic stenosis is the condition where the main chamber of the heart (left ventricle) is not able to open fully when transmitting blood to the major blood vessel of the body (aorta). The valve of the left ventricle that does not open completely is called the aortic valve. Over time, this can lead to a stiff ventricle and lead to symptoms such as syncope (passing out), dyspnea (shortness of breath), and angina (chest pain). Usually this process progresses over decades and needs to be monitored closely. Aortic stenosis is usually diagnosed initially by hearing a heart murmur with a stethoscope and confirming the diagnosis with an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound). Many patients are asymptomatic and just monitored for progression over time with serial ultrasounds. If the stenosis becomes critical or the patient becomes symptomatic as described before, surgery may be indicated. Your cardiologist will go over the timing and different surgical options that are available.  

QUICK LINKS

www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/HeartValveProblemsandDisease/Problem-Aortic-Valve-Stenosis_UCM_450437_Article.jsp – video and information on Aortic Stenosis
http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1838843 – guidelines on management and surveillance of Aortic Stenosis