Aortic Valve Stenosis
Aortic valves are the main doors of the heart and keep your oxygenated blood flowing or circulating forward out from your heart to the rest of the body. After all of the blood leaves the heart, the aortic valve then closes to keep blood from going in the wrong direction back to your heart.
Causes of Aortic Valve Stenosis
Your aortic valve can harden or calcify and become narrow, which is called aortic valve stenosis.
Heart valve stenosis can occur in any of the heart’s four valves, but is most common in your aortic valve. A healthy aortic valve when open is about as big as a half dollar, but sometimes the opening becomes narrowed due to wear and tear or aging. As you age, calcium can form on the aortic valve’s leaflets. As calcium builds up the opening can become narrower and limit blood flow. If the blood flow restriction becomes severe enough, the aortic valve must be replaced.
What Happens to the Heart with Aortic Valve Stenosis
Both aortic valve stenosis and leakage make the heart work harder. With stenosis, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through a narrowed valve. This extra work can make the wall or muscle of the heart thick or even cause enlargement of the heart’s chambers. This prevents the heart from working as it should and over time can lead to serious or even life-threatening problems.