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Aortic Stenosis

Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve that decreases blood flow into the aorta, the main artery carrying blood out of the heart.

These are some symptoms you may experience if you have aortic stenosis:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or weakness with activity
  • Palpitations

Symptoms may not appear until the later stages of the disease. 

Aortic stenosis: what you should know

  • Though aortic stenosis can be present at birth due to a congenital heart defect, the disease usually develops later in life as a result of accumulation of calcium deposits that narrow the aortic valve.
  • Another potential cause is rheumatic fever, which may develop after scarlet fever or strep throat. Rheumatic fever isn’t common in the U.S.

Care for aortic stenosis at Rush

If you have a severe case of the disease or if symptoms are troublesome, specialists at Rush can draw on their many years of experience to help. Your doctor may also consider one of the following treatment options:

  • Medications may be used to treat other conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol to keep your heart from working too hard and putting strain on the aortic valve.
  • Surgery to replace or repair a damaged valve using minimally invasive techniques, including thoracoscopy, endoscopy and robot-assisted surgery.
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a procedure in which an artificial valve is placed without open heart surgery, is a new option for patients who are not good candidates for traditional surgery.
  • Valvuloplasty, a procedure in which a balloon is inserted through an artery in the groin and threaded up to the narrowed valve to be inflated in order to open a valve that has become narrowed.

Why choose Rush for aortic stenosis care

  • U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Rush's heart program among the best in the country.
  • Specialists at the Rush Center for Adult Structural Heart Disease focus on aortic stenosis, including helping to develop new treatments, so they have a better understanding of how to diagnose and treat this condition.
  • Many of the procedures used to treat aortic stenosis take place in Rush's interventional platform, where procedures are centralized to allow specialists to collaborate more easily and ensure convenience for patients and families.

Departments and programs that treat this condition

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure to replace a diseased aortic valve.

The benefits of the minimally invasive heart valve procedures used at Rush.

Robert J. March, MD is a thoracic and cardiac surgeon at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.