Aortic Valve Stenosis
Aortic valve stenosis occurs when the heart's aortic valve narrows. This narrowing prevents the valve from opening fully, which obstructs blood flow from your heart into your aorta and onward to the rest of your body. If you have severe aortic valve stenosis, you'll usually need surgery to replace the valve. Left untreated, aortic valve stenosis can lead to serious heart problem. Aortic stenosis restricts the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta and may also affect the pressure in the left atrium.
An electrocardiogram (ECG) often shows enlargement of the left ventricle. A chest x-ray may show evidence of CHF. An ultrasound of the heart and Doppler flow study allow precise evaluation of the severity of the stenosis. The ECG, chest x-ray, and echocardiogram are repeated at varying intervals to monitor the progression of the stenosis. A heart catheterization is done before valve surgery. Symptoms usually do not develop until after age 50, but individuals may have had a heart murmur at an earlier age. Sometimes dizzy spells precede syncope. Similarly, mild dyspnea with exertion often precedes CHF. A heart murmur is audible with a stethoscope. A murmur due to associated leakage of the aortic valve and/or mitral valve disease may also be present.
The prevalence in the Hong Kong of any valve disease is 1.8%. Of those with valve disease about 0.4% have aortic stenosis. The prevalence of moderate or severe aortic stenosis in patients more than 75 years old is 2.0%. It is the most common valvular heart disease of the elderly and increases with age. The prevalence is 1.5% at age 75 years and 6.1% at 85 years