DOCTOR'S VIEWS ARCHIVE
Topic: Bicuspid Aortic Valve
How do you diagnose bicuspid aortic valve?
Dr. Michael Miyamoto:
Bicuspid aortic valve in asymptomatic patients can be difficult to
diagnose, so there are no symptoms to rely upon. The physical examination
may demonstrate a murmur. Either a murmur caused by relative narrowing of
the valve, which would occur as the heart is pumping blood through the
valve, or the murmur may be of the valve leaking, which may occur after
the heart has pumped when the blood flows backwards from the aorta into
the left ventricle. Then, the bicuspid valve in an asymptomatic patient
may be demonstrated to the abnormal by an echocardiogram, which is an
ultrasound of the heart, where the valve structure can be directly
visualized with ultra sound. There are clues that the valve may be
bicuspid and not be the normal tricuspid structure. And often or
sometimes, it is not completely clear whether the valve is bicuspid or not
as there can be a raze or a vestige of the third comiture that has fused
or never completely opened, such that it may look like from certain views,
that the valve is tricuspid. When you carefully look at the valve and see
how it opens, you see that there are only two functional leaflets.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/21/2000 6:38:00 AM