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Structural Heart Disease

Aortic Stenosis

Your heart pumps blood throughout the body every single second of the day non-stop; this is done efficiently with the help of the four valves present in the heart, one of which is the Aortic heart valve, which has thin sheets of leaflets or tissues, whose work is to open and close as and when the heart regulates the flow of the blood through it. These tissues or leaflets can become rigid, which results in the opening of the valve getting narrowed down.

In simple terms, it means that the heart will not work properly when the valves are not able to open and close properly or effectively. This could result in a serious heart condition called Aortic Valve Stenosis, where the valve between the left ventricle (lower left heart chamber) and the aorta does not open fully.

Due to the narrowing of the aortic valve opening, the heart needs to work harder to pump blood into the aorta and to the rest of the body. This extra load on the heart causes the left ventricle to thicken and enlarge. This strain can eventually weaken the heart muscle leading to heart failure and other serious health issues.

Apollo Hospital, Karnataka, has treated numerous complex cases of aortic stenosis owing to its advanced infrastructure and dedicated team of heart surgeons and cardiologists. We have the latest diagnostic equipment, including echocardiography systems, bedside colour dopplers, ventilators, continuous oxygen supply, infusion pumps, etc., for accurate diagnosis and successful treatment.

Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis 

The symptoms of aortic valve stenosis range from mild to severe. Symptoms start showing up when the narrowing of the valves gets severe. In some people, it may not show symptoms for many years. This is the reason why the gradual weakening of the heart tissues is overlooked.

The following are the symptoms of aortic stenosis:

  • Chest pain or angina, tightness with activity.
  • Shortness of breath during physical activities.
  • An irregular sound coming from the heart is called a heart murmur, which is noticeable through a stethoscope.
  • Feeling faint or dizzy with physical activity.
  • Rapid and fluttering heartbeats (Palpitations).
  • Not eating optimally or gaining enough weight

Causes of Aortic Stenosis 

There are mainly four reasons which can cause Aortic Stenosis, and they are as follows:

  • Development of Rheumatic Fever: It is a complication of strep throat and can damage heart valves. Due to rheumatic fever, there can be the formation of scar tissue on the aortic valves, which can affect the ability to open and close the aortic valve of the heart. Rheumatic fever can damage more than one valve in different ways.
  • Calcium Build-up: Calcium is an important mineral in blood. Due to repeated blood flow over the aortic valve, calcium can get deposited on the valves. It builds up on the tissues of the valve and can affect the ability to open and close the valve properly. Calcium deposits result in the stiffening of the valves.
  • Congenital heart defects: There are three leaflets of tissue around the aortic valve when people are born. Some children are born with the aortic valve with only two (bicuspid) or one (unicuspid) leaflet, affecting the valves.
  • Radiation Therapy: People undergoing radiation therapy are susceptible to Aortic Stenosis because it might develop scar tissue along with inflammation, which results in the stiffening of the aortic valve.

Risk Factors

The risk factors involved with aortic stenosis include:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Older age
  • History of radiation therapy in which chest area was exposed
  • History of infections like rheumatic fever and infective endocarditis that can affect the heart.
  • Having risk factors for heart diseases like diabetes, increased cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Preventive Measures 
Some of the ways recommended to avoid aortic valve stenosis are as follows:

  •  Visit a doctor when you feel the symptoms listed above. Consult the cardiologist, who will provide the best medications and treatment.
  • Consult the best doctor in case of Rheumatic fever.
  • Manage your heart health and resort to a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet & regular exercise routine.
  • There may be a link between infected gums & Aortic Stenosis. Therefore, it is essential to take care of your teeth and gums.

Treatment Options
If the person is not showing symptoms or is showing mild symptoms, then regular monitoring and follow-up are recommended to keep on the development of symptoms. The patient should be monitored with an echocardiogram to decide on a suitable treatment option. Possible treatment options include medications, lifestyle changes, otherwise, Aortic Valve Replacement or Aortic Valve Repair surgery. Our expert team of heart doctors at Apollo hospital, Karnataka, can assist you and discuss the options best suitable for you to offer the best possible treatment.

Apollo Hospital, Karnataka, is led by a team of leading cardiologists in India. We have advanced medical infrastructure to take care of the complex nature of the cardiac care required. Our success rates are comparable to international standards, and we follow modern & effective treatment techniques with the help of highly advanced tools & machines incorporated into the cutting-edge infrastructure of Apollo Hospital, Karnataka.