Aortic stenosis is the most common type of stenosis, or narrowing, of the heart valves. Narrowing of the aortic valve restricts the blood flow from the ventricle into the aorta. It can be serious and potentially fatal.
Stenosis of the heart valves is relatively common. Aortic stenosis can affect up to
Keep reading to learn more about stenosis of the heart, including different types, causes, treatment, and more.
The following types of stenosis of the heart can occur:
- Aortic stenosis:
Aortic stenosisinvolves the narrowing of the opening of the aortic valve. It means that blood cannot flow as easily from the left ventricle to the aorta. It may also cause pressure changes in the left atrium.
- Tricuspid stenosis: The tricuspid valve opening
narrows, restricting blood flow between the upper and lower parts of the right side of the heart.
- Pulmonary stenosis: The blood
cannot flowas easily from the lower right chamber of the heart to the pulmonary arteries. These deliver blood to the lungs, so this condition directly affects blood flow to the lungs.
- Mitral stenosis:
Mitral stenosisrestricts the blood flow from the upper left part of the heart to the lower left part.
Aortic stenosis is the
- chest pain
- rapid heartbeat
- a fluttering sensation in the chest
- difficulty breathing
- shortness of breath
- dizziness or fainting
- difficulty walking short distances
- swelling in the ankles or feet
- difficulty sleeping or preferring to sleep sitting up
Symptoms of aortic stenosis may make it difficult for a person to carry out daily tasks. Because symptoms develop gradually, a person may not initially be vocal about them. Instead, other people may first notice a decrease in the person’s physical ability.
If an infant or child has aortic stenosis due to a condition present at birth, they may display the following symptoms:
- low weight
- difficulty feeding
- breathing issues
The symptoms of stenosis of the heart may be similar if a person has a different type than aortic stenosis, but they can also be similar.
|• heart murmur|
• difficulty exercising
• chest pain
|• breathlessness, especially when lying down|
• waking up due to shortness of breath
• shortness of breath with exertion
• chest pain
• coughing up blood
|• heart palpitations|
• fluttering in the chest
• swelling of the leg or abdomen
• skin that is cold to the touch
The causes of stenosis of the heart will depend on its type:
- Aortic stenosis: Calcium buildup and damage to the valves
can causea narrowing over time as a person ages. However, some conditions present at birth can cause aortic stenosis in children.
- Tricuspid stenosis: Infective endocarditis and rheumatic fever are the
main causesof tricuspid stenosis, but these are rare in the United States. This condition can also be due to congenital causes.
- Pulmonary stenosis: This rare condition is
usuallythe result of a congenital condition. Tricuspid or pulmonary stenosis can results from infective endocarditis or carcinoid syndrome.
- Mitral stenosis: Most commonly, mitral stenosis is due to rheumatic fever. Other causes
If a person has mild or no symptoms, maintaining a healthy lifestyle as much as possible will help reduce the risk of complications. Doctors will monitor a person
Doctors may suggest exercise testing in people who are not experiencing symptoms.
If a person has calcific aortic valve disease, doctors may send them for a CT scan or a left heart catheterization if other tests have not been conclusive.
MRI scans can also help assess ventricle function and mass when the echocardiography has not been definitive.
A person with stenosis of the heart will undergo an echocardiogram to help their doctor understand which treatment options will be most helpful.
If a person does not have any symptoms, or if their symptoms are mild, doctors may simply recommend regular follow-up appointments and monitoring. This will allow them to see whether any symptoms develop or worsen with time.
Depending on the type of cardiac stenosis a person has, treatment
- medications, such as high blood pressure treatments
- valve repair surgery
- valve replacement surgery
The type of heart stenosis will affect a person’s outlook. Other factors, including a person’s age and overall health and the stage of the condition, will also play a large role. A person should talk with a doctor about their outlook.
For aortic stenosis, the rate of progression
The prognosis will depend on the degree of mitral stenosis and whether a person has pulmonary hypertension.
Since stenosis of the heart is usually the result of the natural aging process or conditions present at birth, prevention may not be possible.
However, a person can help prevent complications of the condition by following their doctor’s instructions closely, undergoing regular monitoring, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A person should consult a doctor if they experience any new cardiac symptoms,
- chest pain
- unusually fast heart rate
- difficulty breathing
- unusual dizziness or lightheadedness
- changes in exercise or activity tolerance
- swelling of the ankles or feet
- difficulty sleeping or needing to sleep sitting up
A person with a diagnosis of aortic stenosis
Stenosis of the heart includes narrowing of the heart valves and subsequent changes in blood flow and intracardiac pressure.
The most common type of stenosis of the heart valves is aortic stenosis, which commonly affects adults over age 65 as a result of the buildup of calcium and damage to the heart over time.
Stenosis of the heart valves may not cause symptoms at first.
Treatment may include surgery, as medications can treat other comorbid conditions but may not affect the valve stenosis already present. Certain lifestyle habits, such as avoiding smoking, can improve a person’s outlook.