Cardiovascular Diseases



Aortic Valve Disease


Heart valve diseases are grouped according to the diseased valve, the type of problem (stenosis or regurgitation) and the severity of the problem. The most common cardiac valve diseases are found in the aortic and mitral valve.

The aortic valve, which is located between the left ventricle and the aorta, may become stenotic or may regurgitate (fail).

When the aortic valve is stenotic (aortic stenosis), the valve opening is smaller than normal and the heart has to do extra work to pump blood through this opening.

When the aortic valve regurgitates blood or closes improperly (valve regurgitation or failure), the valve does not seal when closed; blood then backs up against normal flow and leaks into the left ventricle.

Causes and/or risk factors 

Many pathologies may cause both aortic stenosis and aortic regurgitation to varying degrees:

  • Bicuspid aortic valve disease: a congenital (birth) defect in which the aortic valve has two flaps instead of three
  • Rheumatic valve disease: secondary to rheumatic fever, which is generally contracted in childhood and can lead to valve problems 20 to 40 years later
  • Endocarditis
  • Senile, or degenerative, calcium deposition, most often in hypertensive patients
  • Isolated aortic regurgitation may be secondary to an aortic disease (Marfan's syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, aortic dilatation, dissecting aneurysm)
  • Shortness of breath upon exertion
  • Chest pain upon exertion
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness/loss of consciousness upon exertion
  • Swelling in the legs or unexplained weight gain

After filling out a comprehensive questionnaire and performing a physical exam, the doctor will prescribe some of the following tests to confirm the diagnosis, establish the severity of the problem and determine the best treatment if he or she suspects aortic valve disease:


Depending on the severity of the disease as determined by the medical evaluation and diagnostic tests, the doctor will recommend:

  • Periodic follow-up with an echocardiogram
  • Medications to treat the symptoms

An aortic valve replacement or repair through surgery or another type of procedure