The aortic valves play a very important role in proper flow of blood from the heart to aorta and from there to different parts of the body. Any kind of malfunctioning of the aortic heart valve create problems; sometimes which are negligible, but go on increasing as the necrosis of the valve increases. Some of the common symptoms which may occur as a result of bad aortic heart valve are:
- Sudden chest pain
- Abnormal heart sounds
- Reduced activity level
- Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs and veins around the neck.
Pathology of Bad Aortic Heart Valve
The valve situated between the left ventricle (lower left chamber of the heart) and the aorta (the largest artery of the body) is known as Aortic valve. A bad aortic heart valve is known as Aortic Stenosis or Aortic Valve Stenosis in medical terms. It is a condition in which there is narrowing or constriction of the heart’s aortic valve. This constriction of this valve prevents it from opening completely, which blocks the blood flow from the heart to the aorta and rest of the body. When there is a blockage or reduction in blood flow through the aortic valve, the heart needs to work harder to fulfill the demand of blood throughout the body. This increases the load of the heart muscles and makes them weak.
If there is a minor fault in the aortic valve, there will be no visible symptoms or problems unless the heart is damaged and starts malfunctioning. The above mentioned symptoms occur in the patients with valve diseases, but their intensity is very low, therefore the people are unable to detect that their aortic valves may be creating problems. By the time it is diagnosed, it may be too late. The heart muscles have undergone a massive damage, which may leads to congestive heart failure, stroke, many other complication and ultimately death.
The following factors can lead to a bad heart valve:
Old Age: Just like many other problems age is the major risk factor for developing a faulty aortic valve.
Bicuspid Aortic Valve: The aortic valve is generally tricuspid means having three cusps. In some people it is bicuspid i.e. having just two cusps. This condition increases the complications.
Poor Immunity: Too many infections and infection history can make the heart weak and the malfunctioning of the valves.
Cardiovascular Risk Factors: These involve high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, diabetes etc. all these factors increase the risk of Aortic Valve Stenosis.
Chronic renal diseases
Radiation therapy exposure of the chest
Diagnosis and Treatment
There is always a long gap between the beginning of the aortic heart valve malfunctioning and the actual clinical problems that merge as its result. It is advised that regular check-ups should be done to know if there is the aortic valve is functioning properly or not. It is also important to notice the changes your body might face or any of the above symptoms. If any occurs, there are possibilities that it is connected to your aortic heart valve malfunctioning.
The need of treatment depends on how severe the condition of the valve is. If the condition is severe there will be an immediate need of the surgery to repair the valve or replace it completely. If the problem is left ignored, serious heart problems can occur or the patient may die.