What is aortic valve stenosis?

Aortic valve stenosis is the most common heart valve disease in Western countries. It mostly affects older people.

The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle and the main artery in the body (the aorta).

In valve stenosis, the valve can no longer open properly, making it narrower. In Western countries, the most common cause of this is wear and tear on the valve. As we age, calcium deposits form on the valve and it becomes stiffer.

The left ventricle then has to work a lot more to pump the same amount of blood into the aorta. The heart muscle has to work harder and gradually becomes thicker.

In this way, the heart can often compensate so well that the problem goes unnoticed for many years. But at some point, the heart is no longer able to compensate enough and treatment is needed.

The heart gets weaker and is unable to supply itself or other organs with enough blood. Symptoms like weakness, shortness of breath or heart rhythm problems usually only occur after quite some time, when the stenosis has become severe.

Information on many other topics at: https://www.informedhealth.org/

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Updated on January 9, 2024

Next planned update: 2027


Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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