What is aortic stenosis?

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Aortic stenosis refers to the narrowing of the aortic valve or the aorta itself which is connected to the left ventricle of the heart.  As blood is pumped out of the left ventricle, it will then pass through the aorta through the aortic valve and goes back to various parts of the body.  When there is stenosis in the aortic valve area, the heart will have to exert more effort to pump out oxygenated blood for the other organs of the body and the extremities.  When the narrowing or stenosis persists in the aorta, various symptoms can be felt and the person may ultimately get heart failure.

In most cases, the people that get aortic stenosis are the elderly.  The classic effect of “wear and tear” contributes to the narrowing of the aortic valve area.  As the aortic valve ages, it basically allows more calcium deposits to accumulate in the area. These deposits will then harden over time causing some restriction in terms of blood flow.  This restriction will then lead to overall narrowing or stenosis of the aorta. For younger people that get aortic stenosis, most cases are said to be congenital in nature.  The structure of the valves in these cases is defective in nature and eventually lead to narrowing.  People with existing heart ailments like rheumatic heart disease are also said to be highly predisposed to developing aortic stenosis.

Symptoms of having aortic stenosis include feelings of tightness in the chest and breathlessness.  Some people will also complain of palpitations and pain the chest area. For extreme cases, patients with aortic stenosis may also faint secondary to the difficulty in breathing or pressure in the chest.  With these symptoms, it is also common or people with this disease to have less energy in terms of everyday activities.  In terms of treatment, surgery is considered the only effective way to treat the stenosis.  Through aortic valve replacement, the narrowing will be corrected and normal blood flow will be restored.

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