Many of the symptoms and signs of Aortic Stenosis may be incorrectly attributed to the normal ageing process. It is this common misconception that keeps patients from discussing these symptoms with their families and Doctors. It is important to ensure that anyone with these symptoms should be referred to their local Doctor for assessment1
If left untreated, patients with Aortic Stenosis can have a significant reduction in life span, with approx 1 patient in 2 with severe untreated Aortic stenosis, not surviving 2 years.2Reference- 1: hope for hearts Reference- 2: Otto, C. VALVE DISEASE: Timing of aortic valve surgery. Heart. 2000;84(2):211-218.
Shortness of breath may occur due to a reduction in cardiac output due to the narrowed Aortic Valve, reducing the amount of blood flow from the heart, making it hard to get your breath when performing tasks around the house, walking to the shops or whilst participating in activities
Chest pain can occur due to increased oxygen demand from your body when participating in activities such as housework or shopping. This may occur in periods when your heart is required to increase cardiac output, but the condition restricts the amount of blood that can be ejected from the heart
This can occur due to a reduction in blood flow to your brain, commonly caused by a reduced cardiac output, which may make patients feel lightheaded or dizzy when performing activities (shopping, walking outside)
There are many causes for an irregular heartbeat, but it may be commonly associated with structural changes to your heart in Aortic Stenosis
A heart murmur can indicate an abnormal blood flow within the heart, identifying a “leaky valve”, which could be Aortic Stenosis
Fatigue may often be associated with Aortic Stenosis due to a decreased cardiac output caused by a narrowing of the aortic valve
Once a doctor becomes suspicious of the possibility of Aortic Stenosis, the patient may have a number of different diagnostic tests. These may include (but not limited to):
Reference: hope for heart
A multidisciplinary heart team will which treatment option is the most suitable for each individual patient, taking into consideration other medical conditions (such as diabetes etc). This team will include (but not limited to):
Balloon valvuloplasty is a temporary treatment only. A balloon is introduced within the Aortic Valve and inflated to increase the blood flow through the diseased valve and hopefully reducing symptoms
The traditional method to replace the diseased valve via either an open-heart procedure or more commonly now a micro-incision in the patient’s chest. A replacement mechanical or tissue valve is used to replace the damaged Aortic Valve.
A less invasive technique, (where carefully selected patients) where a long catheter is introduced into the diseased Aortic Valve via the femoral artery (found in the groin) and a new tissue type valve is left sitting within the diseased native valve
Associated just with getting “old”. If you have noticed a significant change in your loved one’s exercise limits or noticed that they are unable to do the physical activities they could in the last 6-12 months1, they should see their doctor and make sure they are not one of the 1 in 8 patients over the age of 75 who may have untreated Aortic Stenosis.2Reference- 1: aortic stenosis Reference- 2: health topics
To find out more about Aortic Stenosis symptoms and their treatments.