Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education website.
Information from Your Family Doctor
Aortic Stenosis: What You Should Know
FREE PREVIEW. AAFP members and paid subscribers: Log in to get free access. All others: Purchase online access.
FREE PREVIEW. Purchase online access to read the full version of this article.
Am Fam Physician. 2016 Mar 1;93(5):online.
See related article on aortic stenosis
What is aortic stenosis?
It is the narrowing of the aortic valve, a doorway-like opening in your heart that allows the blood to flow from your heart to other parts of your body. This narrowing (called stenosis) makes your heart work harder to pump blood. Aortic stenosis may get worse over time.
Who gets it?
It usually happens in people older than 65 years. But some people have a problem with their aortic valve that makes them more likely to get it earlier. You are more likely to get it if you smoke or have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol.
How can I tell if I have it?
There are usually no symptoms until the narrowing becomes severe. You may have shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness or fainting, especially during physical activity.
Your doctor may listen to your heart to check whether it is beating normally. If it isn't, you will need a test called an echocardiogram (eh-koh-KAR-dee-uh-gram) to see what is causing the abnormal heartbeat. If you have aortic stenosis, ask your doctor if it is safe for you to exercise or do other physical activity.
How is it treated?
You may not need treatment if the aortic stenosis is not bad or if you don't have symptoms. But your doctor will check your heart regularly to see whether the disease is getting worse. Once you have symptoms, you will need surgery to replace the valve.
What if I have symptoms?
Tell your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
Increased shortness of breath
Chest pain, pressure, or tightness
Dizziness or fainting
Getting tired easily or a decrease in normal activity
Where can I get more information?
American Heart Association
National Institutes of Health
This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at http://familydoctor.org.
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.
Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact email@example.com for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions