Aortic Stenosis – Causes and Symptoms
Aortic stenosis or aortic valve stenosis occurs due to the narrowing of the aortic valves. This narrows the walls of the aortic valve and as a result the blood flow is obstructed from the heart to aorta. Blood flow to the rest of the body is slowed down. When this occurs the heart is pressurized and it has to work harder to pump blood to the rest of the body.This extra work done by the heart weakens your heart and limits the blood it can pump. This leads to symptoms like dizziness and chest pain.
What causes Aortic Stenosis?
The narrowing of the aortic valve results in aortic stenosis. Many factors can cause the narrowing of the passage between the aorta and the heart. The causes of aortic stenosis include:
Congenital Heart Defect
- In rare cases, babies are born with a narrowed aortic valve.
- Others are born with only 2 flaps not three in an aortic valve which causes problems in the adulthood.
- The problem is that the valve may narrow or leak and may need to be replaced.
- In most cases the doctors do not know why an aortic stenosis occurs but the patient should be kept under constant evaluation.
Calcium deposits on the valve
- As age advances, calcium gets deposited on the aortic valve as calcium is a mineral found in the blood.
- In some cases, calcium deposits cause stiffening of the valve and this narrows the aortic valve.
- This is most common in the older people above the age of 60.
- Rheumatic fever is a complication of the streptococcal infection of the throat.
- A scar tissue is formed on the aortic valve due to this fever.
- The scar tissue narrows the aortic valve and causes aortic stenosis.
- Rheumatic fever results in the damage of more than one valve.
Aortic valve stenosis can range from mild to severe. If the narrowing of the valve is severe,the symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Heart murmur
- Fatigue or dizziness
- A slow, fast or uneven beat
Symptoms in a child
In a child or infant, there may be no symptoms seen but one common sign seen in a child is that they may tire easily or have chest pain on exertion.
When to see the health care professional?
- Aortic valve stenosis affects adults but it can also occur in children.
- When a child or adult experiences these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
- If left untreated, can lead to serious heart problems.