What Is Aortic Valve Stenosis, and How Is It Treated?

Aortic valve stenosis occurs when the aortic valve narrows and obstructs blood flow from the heart into the aorta and onward to the rest of the body, explains Mayo Clinic. Treatment options include medication and surgery to replace or repair the valve and open up the passageway.

A narrow aortic valve decreases the circulation of oxygenated blood to the rest of the body, reports Healthline. Due to the narrowing of the aortic valve, the left ventricle has to work harder to pump blood to the rest of the body, and this causes thickening of the ventricle wall, according to MedlinePlus.

As the pressure rises, blood may back up into the lungs, states MedlinePlus. Severe aortic valve stenosis may limit blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body.

Aortic stenosis may be present at birth, but it may develop due to calcification or scarring of the valve that narrows it and limits the amount of blood flowing through it, according to the American Heart Association. It is more common in older people, patients who have received chest radiation, and patients who have suffered from rheumatic fever, according to MedlinePlus.

Treatment depends on the progression of the disease, states Newheartvalve.com. If the symptoms are non-existent or mild, the doctor may prescribe medication to regulate the heart, manage symptoms and prevent blood clots. If symptoms are severe, aortic valve replacement is the most effective treatment. This may be through surgical aortic valve replacement or transcatheter aortic valve replacement.