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Heart Valve Stenosis

In the past heart valve stenosis, the narrowing of the heart valve, was caused by rheumatic disease and most patients were young. Nowadays, the condition is due to the deterioration of the heart valve, and the older a patient, the more frequent the occurrence of heart valve stenosis.

The heart valve is an important component of the heart. As the heart beats, when blood travels through the heart, the heart valve prevents the blood from flowing backward. It serves as a door that opens and closed to control blood flow so the blood moves in one direction towards the lungs to be filled with oxygen before it travels through the circulatory system again. When there is a leak of the heart valve, the blood will flow backward. If the heart valve is narrow, blood has difficulty moving through the heart.

Causes/Risk Factors
  • Infection in childhood (rheumatic heart disease) or bacterial infection
  • Deterioration of the body: since the heart valve is an organ that moves and is placed under constant pressure from blood, deterioration can happen. Plaque can also collect at the heart valve, causing it to thicken and limiting how much it can open.

Heart valve stenosis may be mild or severe. Mild cases may not cause any symptoms, but a severe stenosis can cause the following symptoms:

  • Feeling tired doing everyday activities
  • Chest pain, heart palpitations, swelling in the legs
  • Arrhythmia
  • Lightheadedness, loss of consciousness
  • Chest tightness, like in pulmonary edema, and being unable to lie flat
  • Patient’s medical history
  • General physical examination and cardiac workup, including electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiogram (echo) to assess the level of heart valve stenosis
  • Treating symptoms with medication
  • Heart valve repair or replacement, which is done when the condition is severe
    • Heart valve replacement surgery is the standard treatment and involves open surgery to remove the old heart valve and replace it with an artificial valve.
    • Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a valve replacement technique that doesn’t require surgery. A replacement valve is placed with a catheter inserted into an aorta at the groin or the chest. When the catheter reaches the aortic valve, the doctor will release the replacement aortic valve that is wrapped around the delivery system so it expands and takes the place of the old heart valve.
  • Blood clots that can travel to the lungs or brain
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Cardiomegaly because the heart must work harder
  • Arrhythmia
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Sudden death
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Exercise regularly, with the intensity that is right for your health.
  • Maintain a normal body weight.
  • Eat nutritious foods and avoid foods with a lot of sugar, fat, and salt/sodium.
  • Have regular health check-ups and see your doctor as scheduled.
  • If you experience chest pain or tightness or feel any abnormal symptoms related to your heart, please see your doctor immediately.

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