Aortic Stenosis - Side effects

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What side effects did you have with your aortic stenosis?

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How does aortic stenosis affect the left ventricle pump?

Symptoms and heart problems in aortic stenosis are related to the degree of narrowing of the aortic valve area. Patients with mild aortic valve narrowing may experience no symptoms. When the narrowing becomes significant (usually greater that 50% reduction in valve area), the pressure in the left ventricle increases and a pressure difference can be measured between the left ventricle and the aorta. An easy way to conceptualize the size issues is to think of a normal aortic valve as being about a "half-dollar" size in diameter, and a significantly narrowed valve to be less than a "dime" in size. To compensate for the increasing resistance at the aortic valve, the muscles of the left ventricle thicken to maintain pump function and cardiac output. This muscle thickening causes a stiffer heart muscle which requires higher pressures in the left atrium and the blood vessels of the lungs to fill the left ventricle. Even though these patients may be able to maintain adequate and normal cardiac output at rest, the ability of the heart to increase output with exercise is limited by these high pressures. As the disease progresses the increasing pressure eventually causes the left ventricle to dilate, leading to a decrease in cardiac output and heart failure.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Peter, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 21

Your explaining of Aortic Stenosis is 100% on target! I am 52 years old and was rushed to St. Francis Hospital back in July and had the Aortic Valve replaced. This column just hit the nail on the head explaining what I was feeling. The main side effect for me was shortness of breath. I could not walk 40 feet or a flight of stairs! I would be out of breath and get chest pains that would go away fast, as I rested. I only remember almost fainting twice, both times while playing golf, thank God for the golf cart, as I held onto the cart for dear life. I was also diagnosed with heart block, and a pacemaker was installed in December. After seven and a half months I am finally feeling somewhat better. I occasionally get dizzy, when I bend over, and I am still getting tired as the day progressed. I am walking for 30 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the stationary bike.

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Comment from: Pias mom (Finland), 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: December 04

My mother, born in 1940, did not have any symptoms of aortic stenosis. With a bad knee she was not running around, but she felt well. One evening she had a strange feeling in her chest, and my sister and I urged her to call an ambulance. Nothing was found at the hospital, so we took her home. Following night she felt a little bad again so we drove her to the hospital, and tests showed nothing. Just before leaving one young doctor who listened to her heart said he would put her through to a cardiologist, just in case. A few weeks later she got a date for surgery, due to severe aortic valve stenosis. And during surgery they discovered she had a bicuspid valve! What I mean to say here is that you might not have any symptoms at all, and if the doctors aren't looking for a bicuspid valve they might not see it. I always had a murmur in my heart, so now I feel I really need to get it checked.

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