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Aortic Stenosis: Questions Answered

What is Aortic Stenosis?

Aortic stenosis is one of the serious ailments caused by the contraction of aortic valve. This valve works as a passage through which blood is pumped from the left ventricle to the aorta.  Extra pressure is exerted by the heart to transfer blood through the valve. This results in an increased compression of the left chamber of the heart.

Upon failure of its timely diagnosis, delay in follow up treatment and inadequate precautions, this deadly ailment can sniff out life from a person through heart failure.

How does it start?

Aortic valve consists of three flaps called Leaflets. Their function is to regulate the flow of blood for proper heart functioning. To elaborate, when the heart pumps out blood, these flaps open up and when the heart relaxes this leaflets shuts down the passage so that blood does not flow back.

As one turns older, these leaflets can develop some snag in the form of calcium deposits on their surface that hinders their smooth functioning.

How do I recognize that I might be affected?

Aortic stenosis is an immensely slow process that can take ages to show any symptoms. In case of a minor stenosis, it remains undetected in most cases whereas a severe stenosis usually indicates presence of a mild abnormality.

Thus, while engaging in physical exercises when heart is most active, some of the crucial warnings such as shortness of breath, extreme tiredness, excessive heart pumping and feeling of dizziness should not be taken lightly. The concerned person must immediately talk to a cardiologist. 

When to consult a doctor?

Acting upon some of the crucial signs, a cardiologist usually conducts a thorough physical examination . The doctor listens to the heart and accordingly advises Echocardiography to detect aortic stenosis.  This test exhibits the basic functioning of the heart that helps in first-level analysis and the doctor may conducts additional tests for test the severity of the syndrome at a granular level.

Treatment for mild aortic stenosis?

In situation when this disease is of a mild nature, it needs to be closely monitored through regular check-ups. In certain circumstances, an experienced cardiologist may prescribe medicines to enhance the flow of blood from heart. This is done to reduce the pressure on heart.

Surgery for severe aortic stenosis

In extreme conditions when there is no other option but to swap the faulty valve, an open heart surgery works as the solution.  According to research, those who do not opt for surgical treatment are likely to have their life span cut short to only about two years.

Interim Relief Procedure

In some rare situations, when a person is born with two leaflets in place of three or in a pregnancy, carrying out an interim relief procedure, valvuloplasty, helps solve the problem. In this process, the narrow passage in the valve is widened by inserting a flattened balloon. The flattened balloon is inserted in the valve followed by its inflation.

How to control it?

Some restrictions and changes in lifestyle are mandated to keep the heart in appropriate condition. Some of the common precautions suggested include giving up smoking, restraining from strenuous exercises, limiting the intake of sodium and adopting a nutritious diet chart.

 

Follow article to read about Common Heart Diseases.


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This write-up was contributed by Credihealth content team:

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