Aortic stenosis is a heart disease that affects a valve that helps blood flow from the heart through the aorta, which is the artery that transports blood to the rest of the body. When this valve becomes blocked or doesn’t work properly, this is called aortic valve stenosis or aortic stenosis.
Typically, stenosis occurs when the aortic valve becomes blocked with a buildup of calcium deposits. A healthy aortic valve has three flaps, called leaflets, which open and close, allowing the blood to travel in only one direction through the aorta – outward, away from the heart.
As people age, these leaflets can become thick due to a gradual buildup of calcium, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood through the narrowed pathway of the aorta. The reduced flow of oxygen-rich blood can cause problems such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and lightheadedness. The increased stress on the heart can eventually lead to heart failure.
In the United States, nearly 1.5 million people suffer from aortic stenosis. Of these, an estimated 250,000 develop debilitating symptoms that can make day-to-day activities such as walking or climbing stairs difficult. For these people with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis, surgical replacement of the valve is the most effective treatment.
Unfortunately, because traditional aortic valve replacement requires open-heart surgery, thousands of people every year in the Tampa Bay area cannot receive a replacement valve due to age or health concerns.
Today, an alternative to open-heart surgery is available for people with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis. Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is an FDA-approved, minimally invasive option available to the residents of the west coast of Florida at Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute.
For more information about Transcather Aortic Valve Replacement, fill out our contact form or call us at (813) 55-HEART.