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Aortic Valve Disease

What is aortic valve disease?

The aortic valve controls blood flow from the main pumping chamber of the heart (left ventricle) to the rest of the body through the main artery to your body (the aorta). In aortic valve disease the valve has become narrowed (stenosis) or started to leak (regurgitation).

Aortic valve disease can cause symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or blackouts.

Treatment depends on the severity of the problem. This may occur with a minimally invasive procedure called TAVI (transcutaneous aortic valve insertion) or with aortic valve surgery.

Aortic valve disease is a condition in which the valve between the main pumping chamber of your heart (left ventricle) and the main artery to your body (aorta) doesn't work properly.

Types of aortic valve disease include:

Aortic Stenosis
In aortic stenosis the cusps of the aortic valve may become thickened and have reduced mobility. They may also join or fuse together. The valve becomes narrowed and is unable to open fully. This results in reduced blood flow from your heart into your aorta and the rest of your body.

Aortic Regurgitation
In aortic regurgitation, the aortic valve does not close properly, allowing blood to flow backward into the left ventricle. Treatment depends on the type and severity of your aortic valve disease. In some cases, it may require surgery to repair or replace the aortic valve.


What are the symptoms of aortic valve disease?


Some people with aortic valve disease may only have minor symptoms for several years. The signs and symptoms associated with aortic valve disease include:

shortness of breath, dizziness and/or fainting, chest pain or tightness, irregular heartbeat, fatigue and reduced effort tolerance and swelling of the ankles and feet.

What assessment will I need if I have aortic valve disease?

The initial diagnosis is likely to be on examination after the doctor has taken a detailed history from you. The doctor will then arrange an echocardiogram to confirm the diagnosis.

Cardiac CT and Cardiac MRI are also frequently used as part of the diagnostic pathway

The wound, which is usually only 5cm long, is carefully sutured and patients can be discharged usually the same day. Pacemakers are checked using programmers which communicate with the devices and allow the doctor and technicians to adjust the device settings to optimise the performance of the pacemaker. Most patients can return to normal activities within 4 weeks of the implant and will require regular ongoing follow up and pacemaker checks to ensure correct functioning of the pacemaker. Although, pacemaker implantation is straightforward there is a low rate of risks related to the procedure including bruising at the site of the wound, infection or movement of the leads after insertion which may require further surgery to reposition and correct this.

What are the treatments for aortic valve disease?


Treatment depends on the type and severity of your aortic valve disease. In some cases, it may require surgery to repair or replace the aortic valve.

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