How Serious Is Mild Thickening of the Aortic Valve?


Quick Answer

Mild thickening of the aortic valve, called aortic sclerosis, is not a serious problem, because it typically does not affect the function or motion of the valve, according to Cleveland Clinic. Aortic sclerosis sometimes progresses to a more serious condition called aortic stenosis.

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Full Answer

Approximately 25 percent of adults over age 65 have some form of aortic sclerosis, states Cleveland Clinic. Ten percent of people with aortic sclerosis develop aortic stenosis within 5 years. Aortic stenosis is a condition in which the opening of the aortic valve, which allows blood out of the left ventricle of the heart, is narrowed, explains MedlinePlus. This narrowing of the valve forces the heart muscle to work harder to pump blood, and in severe cases, restricts blood flow to the body.

Symptoms of aortic stenosis typically do not begin until later in the disease process, according to MedlinePlus. Common symptoms include chest discomfort, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and palpitations. Some patients may lose consciousness or feel weak and dizzy when performing physical activity. Aortic stenosis is commonly diagnosed and followed using echocardiography. Treatment, which may include regular echocardiograms, medications, valve replacement surgery or balloon valvuloplasty, is guided by the severity of the valve disease and the patient's symptoms.

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