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Overview

Aortic valve stenosis (more commonly known as aortic stenosis) is a narrowing of the aortic valve. The aortic valve controls the blood flow between the heart's main pumping chamber and main artery (aorta).

Aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve becomes narrow and obstructs the flow of blood from the heart to rest of the body. When the aortic valve gets very narrow, the heart has to work harder to pump the blood around the body. As a result, the heart muscle gets thicker, stiffer and, over time, weaker. This weakness of the heart muscle is called heart failure.

When symptoms occur, they often start with exertion and include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Passing out (syncope)
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced ability to exercise or be active
  • Sudden death

Once symptoms develop, they often progress and, if not diagnosed and treated, can cause severe heart problems. Over time, if the heart muscle gets very weak and there is heart failure, symptoms can also include swelling in the ankles, shortness of breath when resting, and an inability to lie flat.

  • Last Edited 05/31/2018