Living with severe Aortic Stenosis

the first part of the journey is to identify that you may be at risk of this deadly but treatable condition. 1 in 8 people over the age of 75 may be at risk of Aortic Stenosis1 Get the guide

Aortic Stenosis is a condition that occurs when the leaflets of the aortic valve, becomes stiff, causing the aortic valve to narrow. This can affect your heart ability to function normally and as the narrowing becomes smaller over time it may affect the ability of your heart to pump effectively 1

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When does aortic stenosis occur?

Aortic Stenosis is a condition that is often seen in the later years of peoples lives. The most common cause is a build-up of calcium on the leaflets of the aortic valve. Other causes can be birth defects where babies are born with two leaflets instead of three in their aortic valve, Rheumatic fever can damage the leaflets also, resulting in a damaged aortic valve. Some patients who have had radiation therapy may also develop aortic stenosis. 1

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Symptoms of aortic stenosis


Diagnosis of Aortic Stenosis (AS)

Diagnosing aortic stenosis may occur using a number of simple non-invasive tests that your local doctor can arrange. After these tests have been performed you may be referred to a Cardiologist or Cardiac Surgeon for treatment considerations, if required. These tests include (but are not limited to): Heart Auscultation: using a stethoscope placed on the chest, the Doctor may be able to hear a murmur, which can indicate abnormal blood flow within the heart, indicating a diseased/ damaged heart valve. Chest X-ray- is a simple, non-invasive test that doctors can review the lung fields to see if there are other conditions contributing to symptoms and the size of the heart can be reviewed. Echocardiography: uses ultrasound waves to create a 3D image of the heart and structures and can measure blood flow through heart valves. This allows Cardiologists/Cardiac surgeons to identify if there are diseased/damaged heart valves, identify if blood is leaking through these valves as well as assessing heart pumping function. 1

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Treatment Options for Severe Aortic Stenosis (AS)

Aortic stenosis (AS) may be undetected until symptoms become mild or severe. If mild, your local doctor/cardiologist may just observe a patient, until symptoms become more severe. 1 Once AS is classified as severe, you may be referred to a Cardiologist/ Cardiac surgeon to discuss treatment options. A tailor-made approach is needed for all patients as each patient may have other medical conditions to consider. A multidisciplinary heart team (including Cardiologists/ Cardiac Surgeons/Registered Nurses’ and others) may decide the next best step for each individual patient. 2

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  • Balloon Valvuloplasty offers

    Temporary relief from symptoms by increasing the size of the Aortic valve. It is widely acknowledged that this treatment is temporary only and many symptoms may return over time 1

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  • Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR)

    This may be referred to as open heart surgery, where the patient may have a general anaesthetic and could be put on a heart lung machine during the procedure. Another treatment option is to replace the valve through a smaller, less invasive incision in your chest. 1 This allows surgeons to replace the diseased aortic valve with a new one. The valve may be either a tissue or a mechanical valve, this will depend on many factors and your surgeons will discuss treatment options with you. The patient may be requred to stay in hospital for a number of days to recover from the surgery. Recovery from a surgical aortic valve replacement 2

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  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation/Replacement (TAVI/R) Is a new technique to cardiac surgery

    The diseased aortic valve is replaced by accessing the femoral artery in the groin or through the an incision in the upper chest 1 This procedure may be performed in a cardiac catheter lab or an operating theatre. A catheter is introduced into the heart (with the new valve attached to this catheter) and this catheter is placed within the diseased native valve. The new valve is opened (like an umbrella) and sits within the diseased aortic valve, replacing the old valve with a new working valve. This new tissue valve will work immediately (much like SAVR). Symptoms may be relieved over time. Many patients may stay in hospital for a day or two before being discharged home.2

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Untreated severe Aortic Stenosis may be a fatal condition if left untreated

See your local Doctor is you or one of your loved ones is concerned that they may be at risk of this condition

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