Aortic Stenosis and Aortic Valve Replacement
Dr. Ben-Zur has been caring for and treating patients with aortic stenosis for over 20 years in the greater Los Angeles area. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or just want to have a heart check-up, stop by Dr. Ben-Zur’s office today and join our family. We look forward to meeting you.
What is Aortic Stenosis?
Aortic Stenosis occurs when the aortic valve in the heart narrows and does not open fully. This can be caused either by a congenital condition, or by calcification of the valve. Rheumatic fever (a condition caused by untreated strep throat infection) can also cause aortic stenosis. Symptoms can take a while to develop and may include: chest pain; fainting; feeling short of breath; feeling weak or overly tired, particularly with activity. Your Doctor may also tell you they noticed a heart murmur.
How is it Diagnosed?
Your Doctor will hear a heart murmur, and may than recommend an echocardiogram which shows moving pictures of your heart. Your Doctor will use that to determine how your heart is doing. Your Doctor may also require you to have other tests done.
What is the Treatment?
Aortic stenosis treatment depends on the severity of the condition and your symptoms. Treatment may include medications or surgery. If you do not have any symptoms you will see your Doctor regularly to check on your heart. If you do have symptoms, or tests show that the heart is not pumping well, you will need surgery.
What are Surgical Valve Replacement Indications?
The primary manifestations of severe aortic stenosis are: Chest pain; fainting; and heart failure. The median survival rate with onset of symptoms is 2 years, with a risk of sudden cardiac death. Therefore it is very important once it has been determined you require surgery to attend all appointments. The aortic valve is replaced via a surgical procedure. The procedures done are Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) and Percutaneous Aortic Valvotomy. Percutaneous Aortic Valvotomy is used mainly in children and young adults. TAVR is primarily used in older adults and people deemed at high risk.
What Valves are Used?
There are two main types of valves used: Bioprosthetic and Mechanical. Both valves have similar survival benefits. Mechanical valves are used in younger patients because they are more durable, and there are studies that show bioprosthetic valves have a slight survival benefit in older patients. Mechanical valves will require life-long anticoagulation therapy, and are people that have them may be at a greater risk for bleeding. If a person already has a mechanical valve in another position, or is already on lifelong anticoagulation therapy, it is recommended to receive a mechanical valve for Aortic valve replacement. Your Doctor can explain any questions or concerns you may have about Aortic Stenosis and its treatments.