Signs of severe aortic stenosis

Severe Aortic Stenosis can take decades to present, and the presentation of symptoms may seem vague, however, if there has been a significant decline in exercise tolerance due to presence of the symptoms in the last 6-12 months, you should consider consulting your doctor.

Reference- hope for hearts

What is Aortic Stenosis?

Aortic Stenosis is a common heart valve condition in patients over the age of 751. It is estimated that 1 in 8 patients may have undiagnosed Aortic Stenosis2. If left untreated it can lead to a significant impact on the quality of life and is associated with a mortality rate of 50% at 2 years3.

1 - heart.org 2 - AM Coll Cardiol 2013- Sept 10;62 (11) 1002-12 Osnabrugge RL 3 - Otto, C. VALVE DISEASE: Timing of aortic valve surgery. Heart. 2000;84(2):211-218

Causes of Aortic Stenosis?

  • Aortic Stenosis occurs when the Aortic valve in your heart narrows due to calcification of the tissue in the valve, making it stiff and narrow, affecting cardiac output. It can also occur in some people who have a congenital condition called Bicuspid Aortic Valve, in which your heart has two leaflets instead of three in most patients.
  • In many cases, patients may not be aware of the condition as it may take several decades to present, usually in patients in their 60’s or 70’s.
  • Sometimes patients may have a heart murmur that may indicate Aortic Stenosis is present.
  • Most patients may be unaware that they have the condition as many of the symptoms can be incorrectly associated with ageing.
  • If left untreated the narrowing of the Aortic Valve can cause changes to the heart which may lead to breathlessness, chest pain and syncope (fainting).
Reference- 1: Aortic Stenosis Reference- 2: MSD manual

Aortic Stenosis is a potentially deadly heart condition

Aortic Stenosis is a potentially deadly condition that can be treated and symptoms may be relieved.

Read More information from Hope for Hearts

Signs and Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis.

There are many signs and symptoms of Aortic Stenosis that may indicate a patient has the condition, however many of these signs are associated with ageing and me be dismissed by a patient or their families and just associated with “getting older”.

Many of these symptoms occur whilst exercising or performing activities in everyday life such as shopping, housework. The symptoms may be relieved by rest. In many cases, patients may cease activities that cause the symptoms and avoid them in the future (for example mowing the grass)

  • Shortness of Breath

    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

    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

  • Dizziness or Syncope

    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)

  • Irregular Heartbeat

    There are many causes for an irregular heartbeat, but it may be commonly associated with structural changes to your heart in Aortic Stenosis

  • Presence of a Heart Murmur

    A heart murmur can indicate an abnormal blood flow within the heart, identifying a “leaky valve”, which could be Aortic Stenosis

  • Fatigue

    Fatigue may often be associated with Aortic Stenosis due to a decreased cardiac output due to the narrowing of the aortic valve

Reference: mayo clinic

Treatment of Aortic Stenosis

A multidisciplinary heart team will work together to decide the best individual option for each patient. This may include a Cardiologist, a Cardiac surgeon and other medical specialists.

Reference: accredited heart team
  • Balloon Valvuloplasty

    A small balloon is inserted into the native Aortic Valve (via the femoral artery) and inflated to attempt to increase the size of the diseased valve. This is not considered permanent therapy and may temporarily relieve symptoms only

  • Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR)

    This involves an incision in the chest of the patient (or through a smaller incision in the side of the chest), where the diseased Aortic Valve is replaced by a mechanical or a tissue valve either Bovine (cow) or Porcine (pig) attached to a metal frame that is sutured in place. The new valve starts working immediately.

    There may be a short time in the ICU postoperatively and most patients are at home recovering over 8 weeks at home1

  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation/ Replacement (TAVI/R)

    This approach allows the new heart valve to be delivered inside the heart (via a large blood vessel in your groin), where the tissue valve is placed within the diseased Aortic Valve, squeezing the old valve out of the way and the new valve starts working (within the old native valve) immediately.

    Many patients are discharged within 1-2 days postoperatively and recover over the next 1-2 weeks.

    However, TAVI/R is only currently indicated for a specific group of patients, not all patients will be suitable for TAVI/R (discuss this with your Cardiology team)2

Reference- 1: Patient Information Treatment Reference- 2: New Heartvalve

Patient Stories

Click below to hear from patients who have been diagnosed with Aortic Stenosis

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    Eric is Diagnosed with Severe Aortic Stenosis

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    Edwards Lifesciences Patient Story, Daryl 1

Aortic Stenosis is a potentially deadly heart condition

Aortic Stenosis is a potentially deadly condition that can be treated and symptoms may be relieved.

Read More information from Hope for Hearts

Contact your Local Doctor

Many patients with severe Aortic Stenosis may not be aware that they are at risk of this condition. If you have any symptoms outlined, contact your local Doctor for follow up