Aortic Valve Stenosis Treatment in Phoenix, AZ
Aortic Stenosis Definition
Originating from the ancient Greek word stenos or narrowing, a stenosis involves the narrowing or stricture of a passageway or blood vessel. You can have, for instance, a spinal stenosis or a stenosis in any of the four valves in your heart. Aortic valve stenosis is the most common stenosis affecting the heart and can be a serious, life-threatening valve disease, as it affects pressure in the left atrium of the heart and restricts blood flow as it moves from the left ventricle to the aorta.
If you have been diagnosed with or are suffering from the common symptoms of aortic stenosis, schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Phoenix who specializes in aortic stenosis treatment. Call (480) 961-2366 or contact Pineapple Health online.
What Causes Aortic Stenosis?
Aortic stenosis typically develops as a function of aging. As people age, calcium or scarring progressively damages the aortic valve and restricts blood flow through the valve. Less commonly, rheumatic fever in childhood or early adulthood can cause scarring of the valve that leads to aortic stenosis later in life.
Rarely, the stage for aortic stenosis can be set in the womb, resulting in a congenital heart defect referred to as a bicuspid aortic valve.
What are the Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis?
Aortic stenosis may cause you to feel lethargic and weak, even faint. There are also physical changes in the heart as the disease progresses which can be measured. The wall of the left ventricle may exhibit thickening in the muscle as the ventricle works harder and harder to pump your blood through the progressively narrowing aortic valve opening into the aorta. As this thickening wall begins to take up more space in your lower heart chamber, there is less room for an adequate supply of blood to be pumped into your body, which may result in heart failure.
Frequently experienced aortic stenosis symptoms include:
- Heart murmur
- Heart palpitations
- Pounding or heavy, noticeable heartbeats
- Chest pain
- Pressure or tightness in your chest
- Syncope (fainting)
- Weakness during even mild exertion
- Significant decline in activity level
It is important to take into consideration that many people suffer from aortic stenosis and have no noticeable symptoms—until, that is, the stenosis has reached the severe stage, and there is a profound restriction in blood flow through the valve.
There are three major stages of aortic valve stenosis:
- Mild aortic stenosis
- Moderate aortic stenosis
- Severe aortic stenosis
How is Aortic Stenosis Diagnosed & Treated?
For a proper diagnosis of aortic stenosis, your healthcare provider will conduct a physical examination, take a thorough medical history and may recommend the following tests:
- Blood and urine tests
- MRI or CT scan
- Cardiac stress test
- Chest x-rays
- Cardiac catheterization
Early diagnosis and treatment have the potential to slow down or even reverse the development of aortic stenosis. Selecting the appropriate treatment or repair will be based on factors like age, medical history, the nature of the damage and the type of valve disease.
If the disease is still in the mild stage and you are experiencing few symptoms or none at all, your healthcare provider may choose to monitor your condition with regular follow-up visits (every 1-5 years) to detect any changes in your aortic valve. If the disease advances to the moderate stage, annual checkups will be necessary. Severe aortic stenosis typically requires checkups every 3-6 months.
Medication cannot reverse aortic valve stenosis, but your doctor may recommend medication to ease the symptoms of aortic stenosis, including medications to reduce fluid buildup, correct abnormal heart rhythm or slow heart rate. Keeping weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the normal range are all helpful in slowing the progress of the disease.
Surgery may be required to correct the stenosis. Aortic stenosis surgery can involve a balloon procedure to widen the opening of the aortic valve (aortic valvuloplasty), surgical repair of the aortic valve or even complete aortic valve replacement. For individuals who are at a high surgical risk for open heart surgery, a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) may be a more viable option. A TAVR procedure is a less invasive surgery which repairs the valve without removing the damaged valve.
Request more information about aortic stenosis and your prevention and treatment options today. Call (480) 961-2366 or contact Pineapple Health online.
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