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What is Aortic Stenosis and What Causes It - BM Birla Hospital

Experts from the best heart hospital in Kolkata usually define aortic stenosis as a condition in which the valves of the heart become narrow, resulting in lesser blood flow to the heart.

The heart has four valves and they are mitral valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve and aortic valve.  These valves play an important role by pumping the right amount of blood in the right direction. These valves have flaps that are called cusps or leaflets that open and close during each heartbeat and if they don’t open properly or on time the blood flow gets blocked or reduced.

When the aortic valve between the lower left heart chamber and the aorta does not open completely it’s called aortic stenosis.

When the aortic valve opening is narrowed, the heart has to work harder in order to pump enough blood into the aorta and to the rest of the body. This extra work can cause the left ventricle to enlarge and become thicker which can put a lot of strain on the heart and also cause weakened heart muscle. As it makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood and it can also cause chest pain, fainting, and heart failure leading to shortness of breath. Experts specializing in TAVI surgery in Kolkata suggest that a severe case of aortic stenosis can even cause death.

Mentioned below are the main causes of aortic stenosis:

1. Congenital heart defects: an aortic valve has three cusps or leaflets but sometimes children are born with an aortic valve that has one, two, or four cusps which can lead to narrowing and leak. It then has to be repaired or replaced. This condition requires regular checkups and should not be taken lightly at all even though the defect may not cause any problems till adulthood as it can be fatal if the valve begins to narrow or leak.

2. Calcium buildup on the valve: calcium is a mineral found in your blood and as blood repeatedly flows over the aortic valve, calcium deposits can build up on the heart valve leaflets. This buildup can cause the leaflets to become stiff, gradually reducing their ability to completely open and close.

3. Rheumatic fever: strep throat at times leads to rheumatic fever, which can lead to scar tissue formation within the heart. This makes it difficult for the aortic valve to narrow down or to open and close normally. Scar tissue can also create a rough surface which can lead to calcium deposits.

4. Radiation Therapy: sometimes people develop inflammation and scar tissue after they receive radiation therapy. Inflammation and scarring can make the aortic valve stiff which can make it difficult to function.

TAVI surgeons in Kolkata suggest that the treatment depends on how severe the condition is. Symptoms usually occur when the condition is serious. Some people with aortic stenosis do not experience symptoms till their condition becomes critical.

Signs and symptoms that one should look out for are abnormal heart sound or heart murmur heard through a stethoscope, rapid and fluttering heartbeat or palpitations, feeling faint or dizzy or fainting with activity, shortness of breath when active, pain or tightness in chest with activity, fatigue during times of increased activity. One should not take these symptoms lightly and consult the doctor as soon as possible as this condition can be fatal.

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