Aortic Stenosis is a disease of the heart, where the opening of the aortic valve has been constricted abnormally due to certain etiological factors. This leads to decreased blood flow from the heart to rest of the body.
Causes of Aortic Stenosis
Mostly this condition is prevalent in the older population, due to calcifications in the valve. The symptoms are generally slow and progressive over years. This condition can also be congenital. This condition is more common in men. Other factors that may case this condition to develop are diseases like rheumatic fever, people with hypertension and diabetes.
Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis
The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount of narrowing of the valvular opening. The most common symptom is difficulty in breathing, followed by radiating chest pain. The patient may feel a sudden tightness in the chest.
The patient may go into syncope followed by heart failure. As there is decrease in the blood flow to the brain, due to a fall in the blood pressure.
Angina may be caused due to over exertion leading to death in many cases, if the valve is not replaced immediately.
Children suffering from this disease show signs of palpitations very often along with breathing problems and the conditions worsen as they grow older.
Diagnosis of Aortic Stenosis
This disease can be diagnosed on physical examination of the patient. Also the following tests can be carried out to diagnose the condition.
1) A chest x-ray
2) A echocardiogram
3) A stress test is also very useful.
On auscultation with a stethoscope an abnormal heart sound can be heard like a faint murmur or a click.
Children who are born with the condition always present with a case of cold clammy and pale skin, they are basically weak and have respiratory difficulties.
A MRI of the heart may also be done to check the condition of the aortic valve. The blood pressure must also be checked when the above mentioned diagnostic tests are being carried out.
Treatment of Aortic Stenosis
Treatment is generally not required if the patient is asymptomatic. If the patient may have any kind of symptoms they can be controlled by constant monitoring by the doctor.
Patients suffering from a more severe form are advised to lead a very non- stressful lifestyle. They must avoid any kind of strenuous activity like a vigorous exercise regime.
Medical support can be given to patients having symptoms like heart failure or any kind of abnormal heart activity. Drugs like beta blockers for e.g, METAPROLOL.Or diuretics are administered.
In more serious life threatening cases surgical approaches are taken.
1) A minimally invasive aortic valve surgery is done to replace the valve; this decreases the chances of fatality.
2) A valvuloplasty may be done in cases of treating children.
Prognosis of Aortic Stenosis
If surgery is not done when the symptoms worsen, then the prognosis for such patients is very poor.
The condition may be cured by surgery but the success rate is not 100%.
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