Aortic Stenosis

The normal heart has two upper and two lower chambers. The upper chambers called “right and left atrium” collect blood flowing in from the body and in from the lungs. The lower chambers called “ventricles” collect blood from the atria then pump it forcefully out. The right ventricle pumps out to the lungs while the left ventricle pumps to the aorta.

The heart valves, which keep blood flowing in the right direction, are gates at the chamber openings. Each of these valves have flaps (cusps) that open and close once during each heartbeat. The aortic valve is one of the main valves on the left side of the heart. The aortic valve has three flaps. It opens when the left ventricle squeezes to pump out blood, and closes in between heart beats to keep blood from going backward into the heart. In aortic valve disease, the aortic valve may not be closing properly, which causes blood to leak backward to the left ventricle (regurgitation) or the valve may be narrowed (stenosis).

Aortic stenosis (AS) or aortic valve stenosis is a condition in which the aortic valve is narrowed, thus not working properly. This results in less oxygen-rich blood being delivered to the body; thus, making the heart work harder to pump blood, leading to the development of symptoms and/or a weakening of the heart muscle.

Aortic Stenosis

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Types & Causes of Aortic Stenosis

  • Congenital aortic stenosis: A normal aortic valve has three cusps. A child may be born with a valve that only has two cusps (bicuspid), one (unicuspid) or four (quadracuspid) cusps. As a result of this abnormal anatomy, the valve may not open correctly. Symptoms may not appear until adulthood or later in life.
  • Acquired aortic stenosis: This type of aortic stenosis is developed at some point throughout your life. It is most commonly caused by calcium build-up, radiation therapy and rheumatic fever.

Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis

There are varying degrees of aortic stenosis. Patients may have a mild, moderate or severe narrowing of the valve. Some patients with aortic stenosis may not experience symptoms for many years. With time, however, patients with severe aortic stenosis may develop symptoms which may include some or all of the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness/Fainting
  • Heart palpitations: when you feel like your heart is racing, pounding or fluttering
  • Involuntary weight loss

Diagnosis of Aortic Stenosis

Your doctor will ask you about symptoms and perform a physical examination which will include listening to your heart with a stethoscope to identify a heart murmur (whooshing or swishing sounds). After that, you may also have:

Diagnostic tests and procedures

Treatment of Aortic Stenosis

Treatment of aortic stenosis depends on the severity of your disease which is determined by signs, symptoms and testing. Based on the findings, your doctor may recommend the following treatment options:

Lifestyle changes

  • Avoid smoking
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Exercise under directions of your doctor
  • Manage stress
  • Address risk factors for coronary artery disease such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
  • Make and keep appointments to see your doctor for routine check-ups and follow-up tests.


  • Beta blockers will help reduce your blood pressure.
  • Diuretics “water pills” will help reduce the amount of fluid retention in your body.

Medical and surgical procedures

Clinical trials

Atrial tissue pathology changes in Aortic Stenosis





Saint Barnabas Medical Center
94 Old Short Hills Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-5000
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
Jersey City Medical Center
355 Grand Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 915-2000
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 828-3000

Aortic Stenosis Treatment & Care

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