When the aortic valve narrows it keeps the valve from opening properly, causing a blockage or obstruction that prevents a healthy blood flow from the heart into the aorta.
Diagnostics to detect aortic valve stenosis include:
Electrocardiogram (EKG) — Electrical pulses generated by your heart are measured and evaluated to determine if there are any anomalies or unusual conditions present.
Chest X-ray — A standard test that can see if there is deposit or fluid buildup in or around your heart. A chest X-ray can detect anomalies such as an enlarged heart or improperly formed valves.
Echocardiogram — Sound waves are directed to your heart through a device that is held up to your chest. The sound waves cause a pattern that allows the physician to see if valves and other parts of the heart are operating properly.
Cardiac catheterization — A liquid dye is injected through a narrow tube (catheter) into an artery leading to the heart to allow special pictures to be taken to see if there are blockages or narrowed arteries that could pose a health threat.
Procedures to treat aortic valve stenosis include:
Balloon valvuloplasty — This minimally invasive, interventional procedure inserts a balloon through a small tube (catheter) to the valve opening. The balloon is then enlarged, stretching the valve opening to improve blood flow.
Aortic valve replacement — Surgeons remove the aortic valve and replace it with either a tissue valve or mechanical valve. Intuity valve replacement is a variation of this procedure using an innovative rapid deployment system to implant a tissue valve.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) — The TAVR team inserts a catheter into the femoral artery (through the patient’s groin or leg) and uses it to push a replacement valve into place. The new valve expands to fill the space, pushing the old valve out of the way.
Surgical valvuloplasty — Traditional, “open” surgery during which the surgeon repairs the heart valve to return it to proper operating efficiency.