In a patient with aortic stenosis, the aortic valve no longer opens fully. Its opening is restricted as the leaflets of the valve become stenosed (narrowed)over time. This makes it harder for your heart to pump blood through the valve and around your body. The narrower the valve, the harder the heart has to work and worse the symptoms are likely to be.
As the heart was having to work a lot harder, symptoms include feeling out of breath and dizziness. The symptoms may become worse and eventually develop into heart failure.1 Some people also suffer from fainting and in some cases, it may lead to heart-stopping completely. 2,3 However, with proper intervention, there is hope for heart valve patients.
- Grimard BH, Larson JM. Aortic Stenosis: Diagnosis and Treatment. Am Fam Physician 2008.
- Maganti K et al. Valvular Heart Disease: Diagnosis and Management. Mayo Clin Proc. 2010.
- Carabello BA. Introduction to aortic stenosis. Circ Res 2013.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMEONE HAS AORTIC STENOSIS?
Over time, the leaflets of your aortic valve become stiff, reducing their ability to fully open and close. When the leaflets don’t fully open. Your heart must work harder to push blood through the aortic valve to your body. Eventually, your heart gets weaker, increasing the risk of heart failure (your heart cannot supply enough blood to your body).
Although not everyone will have symptoms, the condition will get worse over time. The only effective way to treat severe aortic stenosis is to replace the aortic valve. This can be done through TAVR or open-heart surgery.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE AORTIC STENOSIS?
You should probably start by first seeing your family doctor or cardiologist who may then refer you to a multidisciplinary Heart team. Before your appointment, check with your family members to find out if any close relatives have been diagnosed with cardiac disease, knowing as mush as possible about your family’s health history will help your doctor make informed decisions.
SEVERE AORTIC STENOSIS HAS A WORSE PROGNOSIS THAN MANY METASTATIC CANCERS
5-year survival rate (distant metastasis) of lung cancer, colorectal, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer compared to severe inoperable aortic stenosis.
TIMELY INTERVENTION IS CRITICAL; TIMELY RECOVERY IS IMPORTANT
Without proper and timely intervention, your patient may die within 2 years.
Significant improvement in quality of life scores, as early as 30 days, may be an important factor to your severe aortic stenosis patients. Thus, the rapid recovery time and return to daily activities seen with TAVR is highlighted.
- Otto CM. Timing of aortic valve surgery. Heart. 2000;84:211-21. 2.Otto, C. VALVE DISEASE: Timing of aortic valve surgery.Heart. 2000
- Using constant hazard ratio. Data on file