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Aortic stenosis (AS) is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening. This valve controls the flow of blood from the heart to a large artery called the aorta. This artery carries blood from the heart to the rest of body.
AS makes it difficult for blood to flow out of the heart. It can decrease the amount of blood that goes to the body and cause a back-up of blood into the heart. This back-up can increase pressure in the heart and lungs. AS can range from mild to severe.
The aortic valve has 3 flaps that should open and close smoothly. AS is caused by a defect or damage to these flaps. Common causes include:
This condition is more common in men.
Factors that may increase the risk of AS include:
AS does not always produce symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may include:
In rare cases, AS can cause abnormal heart rhythms or sudden death with no previous symptoms.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may be alerted to AS by the following:
Images may need to be taken of your chest. This can be done with:
If you have mild AS, your condition will be monitored, but you may not need immediate treatment.
If you have more severe AS:
You may be prescribed medicine to help decrease pressure on the heart. Vasodilators may be given to widen your blood vessels and decrease blood pressure. Statins can help to lower cholesterol.
Surgical options include:
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If you have AS, there are several things you can do to try to avoid some of the complications:
AS cannot be prevented.
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery
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Aortic stenosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114195/Aortic-stenosis. Accessed September 13, 2019.
Grimard BH, Safford RE, et al. Aortic stenosis: diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2016;93(5):371-378.
Infective endorcarditis. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/TheImpactofCongenitalHeartDefects/Infective-Endocarditis_UCM_307108_Article.jsp#.WblNnbKGNQI. Accessed September 13, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC Last Updated: 8/14/2020