Our Services / Aortic Stenosis

Aortic Stenosis

Aortic stenosis causes poor blood flow from your heart, reducing the oxygen circulating around your body. If you have symptoms of a valvular disease like aortic stenosis, talk to the experts at ARK Cardiovascular & Arrhythmia Center. At their offices in Dearborn, Detroit, and Trenton, Michigan, the practice’s experienced cardiologists provide state-of-the-art diagnostics and advanced treatments for aortic stenosis. Find out how they can help you by calling your nearest office today or using the online form to schedule a consultation.

Aortic Stenosis Q & A

What is aortic stenosis?

Aortic stenosis is a condition affecting one of the valves in your heart. There are four valves, which open and close rhythmically to circulate blood around your body. The aortic valve is the last one your blood goes through when leaving your heart.

The aortic valve pumps oxygenated blood into your aorta — your body’s largest blood vessel. If you have aortic stenosis, the valve can’t open and close as it should due to thickening or scarring of the tissues. Consequently, not enough blood and oxygen gets through.

What causes aortic stenosis?

There are several reasons why you might have aortic stenosis, including:

Calcium buildup

Your blood contains calcium and may leave tiny particles behind when it goes through the aortic valve. Over the years, the calcium builds up, making the valve too stiff to open fully.

Congenital heart defect

Babies are sometimes born with an aortic valve that has one, two, or four cusps (the flaps that make up the valve) instead of the three it should have. While this generally isn’t a problem when you’re young, the abnormal valve is likely to stiffen as you age.

Rheumatic fever

Rheumatic fever can trigger scar tissue development in the aortic valve, which encourages calcium deposits. Fortunately, rheumatic fever is far less common than it used to be.

What symptoms does aortic stenosis cause?

Mild aortic stenosis might not cause any problems. However, if your stenosis is worsening, you might begin to notice symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath, especially when exercising
  • Chest pain 
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Feeling faint
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations (rapid or fluttering heartbeat)

You might also develop a heart murmur, where your heart makes an extra beat. Severe aortic stenosis can lead to syncope (fainting), heart failure, and arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm).

How is aortic stenosis treated?

Mild aortic stenosis doesn’t require treatment, but the ARK Cardiovascular & Arrhythmia Center team assesses your condition periodically in case it changes. While they don’t cure aortic stenosis, medications like blood pressure pills and antiarrhythmic medicines can help to keep your heart healthy.

If your condition is severe or medications aren’t controlling it well enough, you might need surgery. One method involves open-heart surgery to replace the damaged valve. The ARK Cardiovascular & Arrhythmia Center team typically uses the far less invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) method.

TAVR uses a slim, flexible pipe (catheter) to access your heart rather than making large chest incisions. Another option is valvuloplasty, where your provider uses a catheter to insert a tiny balloon into the narrow valve. Inflating the balloon widens the opening, allowing blood to flow properly.

If you have any symptoms of aortic stenosis, visit ARK Cardiovascular & Arrhythmia Center for a fast diagnosis and expert treatment. Call or book online today.