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Aortic Valve Problems

Clip Number: 3 of 35
Presentation: Aortic Valve Replacement
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Now that you have seen how a healthy heart works, let's discuss some of the problems that can occur with the aortic valve. The aortic valve has three leaflets which prevent blood from leaking back into the heart.
There are two types of aortic valve problems: stenosis and insufficiency.
Valve stenosis is a narrowing of the valve. When this happens, the heart has to push harder to get blood through the smaller openings and less blood circulates through the heart and to the rest of the body. In older patients, stenosis may be caused by a build-up of calcium on the valve. This build-up also hardens the valve, which can hinder its ability to open and close properly.
Insufficiency or leakage is another problem that can occur when a valve does not close properly. This allows blood to leak back through the valve, AWAY from the direction it SHOULD be going. Insufficiency can be caused by a valve that has simply become weak over time and is beginning to wear out.
In younger patients, aortic valve disease can be caused by having a bicuspid valve - which has only two leaflets, instead of three. Over time, the bicuspid valve can weaken and may leak or become narrow.
Another cause of valve disease can be an infection you may have had when you were younger called rheumatic fever. This infection may have damaged your valve, causing scarring that is now making your valve function improperly.
These problems may cause you to feel short of breath, fatigue, or chest pain and may even cause you to pass out.

Aortic Valve Replacement


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