Aortic Valve Stenosis
Aortic valve stenosis occurs when the heart's aortic valve narrows. If heart failure, loss of consciousness, or heart related chest pain occurs due to AS the outcomes are worse. Loss of consciousness typically occurs with standing or exercise. Signs of heart failure include shortness of breath especially with lying down, at night, and with exercise as well as swelling of the legs. Thickening of the valve without narrowing is known as aortic sclerosis. Although some people have AS as a result of a congenital heart defect, this condition more commonly develops during aging as calcium or scarring damages the valve and restricts the amount of blood flowing through the valve.
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.
The prevalence in the Netherlands of any valve disease is 2.8%. 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 2.5% at age 75 years and 6.1% at 85 years