The aorta is the main artery in the body that handles virtually all the oxygenated blood leaving the heart. As the biggest artery in the body, it would naturally be subject to immense pressure from immediate heart beats and its health condition will have a direct impact on your heart. Any health condition affecting the aorta will therefore put your cardiovascular health at great risk.
While some of the heart conditions might be congenital, other develop somewhere along the way and can easily catch a patient off guard. The most popular conditions plaguing the current society include:
Aortic Valve Stenosis
This condition affects the valves that control blood flow from the heart through the aorta. When the aortic valve is too thick or stiff, it might fuse together hence constricting the opening into the aorta. This will block the blood flow into your aorta hence the general amount of oxygenated blood in circulation. This might have an adverse effect where the heart is forced to work harder and push more blood through the narrowing opening.
Aortic Valve Regurgitation
This is the second popular health condition affecting how the heart connects to the aorta. Aortic valve regurgitation is characterized by improper aortic valve closure. This will make blood to flow back into the left ventricle whenever it expands.
Aortic Valve Condition Symptoms
The problem with aortic valve conditions is that you might not experience any symptoms until the condition has evolved for a while. Couple this with the fact that the symptoms could easily be confused for other health problems and you get a potentially fatal condition that can only be identified after trained observation.
The biggest and least confusing symptoms is an abnormal heat sound commonly referred to as a ‘heat murmur.’ A doctor or any health expert trained to identify it can pick it up through a stereoscope. Other symptoms include:
- Short breath after being very active or whenever you lie down
- Dizziness and frequent fainting
- Chest tightness and pains
- Children with aortic valve stenosis might not eat enough and will have trouble gaining weight
- Swelling of the feet and the ankles
What Causes Aortic Valve Diseases?
Sometimes, aortic valve conditions might be congenital. This is always the case when the condition affects infants. The condition can also be due to age related changes in the heart and other issues arising from infections or injury to the heat and hypertension,
People susceptible to developing aortic valve conditions include
- Aging people
- Those with specific congenital conditions that don’t necessarily affect the aortic valve
- Any history of infections that could affect the heart
- Repeated radiation therapy to the chest area
- Chronic kidney conditions
The impact of the aortic valve condition go beyond the mere symptoms that herald the condition. If left untreated, the condition could lead to severe conditions like heart failure, blood clots, stroke, heart rhythm anomalies and ultimately death.
Once your physician suspects that you have an aortic valve related problem, he or she will refer to further diagnosis where you will be subjected to tests like electrocardiograms, chest X-rays, a cardiac MRI or cardiac computerized tomography scan.
The treatment procedure chosen will be subject to the condition’s severity. The ultimate treatment procedure involves corrective or replacement surgery that either tries to fix the faulty valve or install a completely new one. If surgery is impossible, alternative treatments like the transcatheter aortic valve implantation are used to take care of the condition and give the patient a shot at an almost normal lifestyle