Aortic Stenosis
Aortic Valve

Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the valve opening that results in lower blood flow through the valve.
Aortic stenosis may begin as a result of infection, rheumatic fever or a congenital abnormality. Typically, the valve tissue becomes scarred, inflamed or thickened. Calcium may collect on the valve, reducing the flexibility of the valve leaflets.

Aortic Valve

Normal Aortic Valve

Valve Stenosis

Stenotic Aortic Valve
Patients may notice symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fainting or difficulty when exercising. It is important to remember, however, that heart valve disease often occurs with no outward symptoms and may go undetected.

As the valve leaflets lose their flexibility, the area through which blood flows is reduced. As it becomes harder to push blood through the valve, the muscles of the heart chamber wall stretch and thicken, leading to an increased likelihood of heart failure.

When aortic stenosis becomes severe and symptoms develop, it is life-threatening. As many as 50% of aortic stenosis patients with severe symptoms may die within two years due to disease progression . Unfortunately, up to 30% of these patients are currently not being referred for recommended aortic valve replacement (AVR)2.

This failure to refer occurs despite the fact that studies show a marked survival benefit in AVR versus conservatively managed aortic stenosis patients1,3, and despite the low 3-4% perioperative mortality rate associated with AVR4. As a result, thousands of aortic stenosis patients remain undertreated through conservative management when surgery may be more appropriate.

No drug therapy exists for aortic stenosis. But with surgical valve replacement, many people will go on to lead normal, healthy lives. Surgical replacement of the diseased valve can greatly increase survival, alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. It is the only effective treatment for aortic stenosis, and is recommended for virtually all adult patients who do not have other serious medical conditions.

Presentations containing a relevant literature review on the undertreatment of aortic stenosis:
Relevant published abstracts

For more detailed information about aortic stenosis, or to purchase our Undertreated Aortic Stenosis Toolkit, please contact your Edwards sales representative

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1. Otto, CM. Timing of aortic valve surgery. Heart 2000;84(2):211-8.
2. Pellikka PA, et al. Outcome of 622 adults with asymptomatic, hemodynamically significant aortic stenosis during prolonged follow-up.Circulation 2005;111(24):3290-5.
3. Bouma BJ, et al. Which elderly patients with severe aortic stenosis benefit from surgical treatment? An aid to clinical decision making. J Heart Valve Dis 2004;13(3):374-81.
4. Bonow RO, et al. ACC/AHA 2006 guidelines for the management of patients with valvular heart disease. J Am Coll Cardiol 2006;48(3):e1-148.