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  • Valvular heart disease


    Valvular heart disease is any disease process involving one or more of the four valves of the heart (the aortic and bicuspid valves on the left side of heart and the pulmonary and tricuspid valves on the right side of heart). These conditions occur largely as a consequence of aging, but may also be the result of congenital (inborn) abnormalities or specific disease or physiologic processes including rheumatic heart disease and pregnancy. Anatomically, the valves are part of the dense connective tissue of the heart known as the cardiac skeleton and are responsible for the regulation of blood flow through the heart and great vessels. Valve failure or dysfunction can result in diminished heart functionality, though the particular consequences are dependent on the type and severity of valvular disease. Treatment of damaged valves may involve medication alone, but often involves surgical valve repair (valvuloplasty) or replacement (insertion of an artificial heart valve).

  • Bicuspid aortic valve


    Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is an inherited form of heart disease in which two of the leaflets of the aortic valve fuse during development in the womb resulting in a two-leaflet valve (bicuspid valve) instead of the normal three-leaflet valve (tricuspid). BAV is the most common cause of heart disease present at birth and affects approximately 1.3% of adults. Normally, the mitral valve is the only bicuspid valve and this is situated between the heart's left atrium and left ventricle. Heart valves play a crucial role in ensuring the unidirectional flow of blood from the atrium to the ventricles, or from the ventricle to the aorta or pulmonary trunk.

  • Aortic stenosis


    Aortic stenosis (AS or AoS) is the narrowing of the exit of the left ventricle of the heart (where the aorta begins), such that problems result. It may occur at the aortic valve as well as above and below this level. It typically gets worse over time. Symptoms often come on gradually with a decreased ability to exercise often occurring first. If heart failure, loss of consciousness, or heart related chest pain occurs due to AS the outcomes are worse. Loss of consciousness typically occurs with standing or exercise. Signs of heart failure include shortness of breath especially when lying down, at night, or with exercise, and swelling of the legs. Thickening of the valve without narrowing is known as aortic sclerosis. Causes include being born with a bicuspid aortic valve, and rheumatic fever. A bicuspid aortic valve affects about one to two percent of the population. As of 2014 rheumatic heart disease mostly occurs in the developing world. A normal valve may also harden over the decades. Risk factors are similar to those of coronary artery disease and include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and being male. The aortic valve usually has three leaflets and is located between the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta. AS typically results in a heart murmur. Its severity can be divided into mild, moderate, severe, and very severe, distinguishable by ultrasound of the heart. Aortic stenosis is typically followed using repeated ultrasound scans. Once it has become severe, treatment primarily involves valve replacement surgery, with transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) being an option in some who are at high risk from surgery. Valves may either be mechanical or bioprosthetic, with each having risks and benefits. Another less invasive procedure, balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV), may result in benefit, but for only a few months. Complications such as heart failure may be treated in the same way as in those with mild to moderate AS. In those with severe disease a number of medications should be avoided, including ACE inhibitors, nitroglycerin, and some beta blockers. Nitroprusside or phenylephrine may be used in those with decompensated heart failure depending on the blood pressure. Aortic stenosis is the most common valvular heart disease in the developed world. It affects about 2% of people who are over 65 years of age. Estimated rates were not known in most of the developing world as of 2014. In those who have symptoms, without repair the chance of death at five years is about 50% and at 10 years is about 90%. Aortic stenosis was first described by French physician Lazare Rivière in 1663.

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