DOCTOR'S VIEWS ARCHIVE


Topic: Bicuspid Aortic Valve

Dr. Lee:
Symptoms later in life of bicuspid aortic valve?

Dr. Michael Miyamoto:

There are two valvular functions that abnormalities can occur. The first is that the valve can be leaky, causing what is called aortic insufficiency.  This is where the aortic valve does not close completely and that allows blood to leak from the aorta back into the left ventricle with every heart beat. Generally, the main risk of this is not so much causing heart failure initially, rather the main practical risk involves the risk of valve infection or endocarditis. Any abnormal valve is at risk for becoming infected where bacteria in the blood can seed itself into the abnormal valve structure and cause a full-blown infection, which is generally quite serious. Because the leaky valve predisposes to this, patients who have a bicuspid valve should generally all take antibiotics prior to dental and other procedures that might conceivable result in the presence of bacteria in the blood. The other main valvular problem that can occur with this is stenosis or lockage of the valve or narrowing of the valve such that the flow of blood through the valve is impeded. This also generally occurs later in life between the 4th and 7th decade of life, where progressive calcification of the valve occurs. Because the valve is structurally abnormal, calcium can deposit on the valve leaflets, which may result in progressive narrowing of the valve orifice and progressive restriction of blood flow through the valve.

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Last Editorial Review: 6/21/2000 6:38:00 AM




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