Aortic stenosis is a condition in which the aorta valve (main artery of the heart) prevents supplying blood to the heart. Due to this, the normal functioning of the heart gets hampered. The condition normally affects those people who are below the age of 70 years. Aortic stenosis is a condition that can develop in the later stages of life or can present from birth also. Rheumatic aortic stenosis, left ventricular outflow tract obstruction, aortic valve stenosis and calcium aortic stenosis are some of the alternatives name of the condition.
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Generally, Aortic stenosis is the consequence of 3 causes; senile calcific aortic stenosis, congenital bicuspid valve and rheumatic fever. In the most of the cases, people get affected from the condition due to presence of a bicuspid valve, from the birth. Instead of normal 3 cusps, people with bicuspid valve have two cusps. These two cusps do not able to open widely and operate normally, thereby leading to narrowing of the heart valves and causing Aortic stenosis.
When people gets older, then also they suffer from the condition and that time senile calcific aortic stenosis is considered as the main cause of aortic stenosis. As person becomes old, protein collagen keeps on reducing and calcium deposits on the valve leaflets. This causes the thickness of valves and eventually leads towards narrowing of the heart valves. Rheumatic fever also causes aortic stenosis.
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Normally, symptoms of the condition are experienced in advanced stages of the disease. Major symptoms include:
- Angina pain, chest pain
- Weakness, dizziness
- Breathlessness with activities
In infants and children, major symptoms experienced include:
- In serious cases, infants experience serious breathing problems that can develop within few weeks or days of birth.
- In mild cases, children become tired or exhaustedly more easily than others.
The condition can be prevented if steps would be taken to prevent rheumatic fever. And for preventing the fever, it is advised to treat strep infections immediately.
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Those people who have aortic stenosis and experiencing no or mild symptoms only require to visit to the health care providers regularly and avoid doing strenuous exercises. Periodically, echocardiography is performed for monitoring valve and heart function carefully.
If a person is facing symptoms like angina or chest pain, shortness of breath, exertion, etc, then health care providers prefer replacing the valve surgically. Surgical replacement is considered as the best treatment for treating aortic stenosis.
Surgery is always preferred as the last resort of treating any ailment. Before taking surgery, health care providers prefer treating heart failure with some drugs like diuretics, nitroglycerin, etc.
For children and infants, who are suffering from severe aortic stenosis, healthcare providers prefer performing surgery even before the development of the disease’s symptoms. Balloon valvuloplasty and surgical repair of the valves are considered as the two most effective and safe alternatives of valve replacement. If children are treated with balloon valvuloplasty, then as they become adults, the valve will be replaced by the health care providers. However, in adults, the balloon valvuloplasty does not prove effective as the condition recurs. Therefore, health care providers avoid treating aortic stenosis in old people from balloon valvuloplasty.
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