Monday, March 23, 2009

What is Aortic Stenosis?

Aortic valve stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve. The aortic valve opens to allow blood to flow from the left ventricle of the heart to the aorta, and then to the body. Because the opening is narrowed, the left ventricle has to pump extra hard to propel blood through the valve. This causes the left ventricle to become enlarged. The valve may also have two leaflets, instead of three, or may have an abnormal funnel shape. The narrowed valve may not be a problem during infancy, but becomes one as the child grows and the heart cannot keep up with the body’s demand for blood. “Congenital” aortic valve stenosis means the condition is present at birth.

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