When the aortic valve doesn’t open fully, your heart feels the stress.
Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve, the last valve that blood flows through as it leaves your heart. The aortic valve allows blood to flow from the heart's lower left chamber, the left ventricle, into the aorta and to the body. Aortic stenosis reduces normal blood flow and makes the heart work harder. When the heart can no longer keep up the extra effort, serious symptoms will result.
With aortic stenosis, your heart may not pump enough oxygen-rich blood to your body.
For elderly patients, aortic stenosis is typically caused by the buildup of hardened calcium on the aortic valve. It can also be seen earlier in life in patients with inherited aortic valve diseases, rheumatic fever or radiation therapy. Most people with aortic stenosis do not develop symptoms until the disease is advanced and the flow of blood significantly reduced.
Symptoms may include:
• Exertional shortness of breath
• Exertional chest pain
• Exertional dizziness or fainting
• Palpitations or a feeling of heaving, pounding heartbeats
• Decline in activity
• Heart murmur