Heart Valve Stenosis experts Mukta Srivastava, MD, Mark Vesely, MD, and Anuj Gupta, MDAt the University of Maryland Heart and Vascular Center, our valve disease specialists have years of experience diagnosing and treating all types of valve disease, including valve stenosis, which is most commonly seen in the aortic valve.

Our expert team includes dedicated cardiologists, surgeons, radiologists, nursing specialists and anesthesiologists all specially trained to care for patients with valve disease.

Learn more about our services by downloading our Heart Valve Patient Guide.

What is Aortic Stenosis?

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A narrowing of a heart valve is called stenosis. The smaller opening causes the heart to work harder, and the body may receive less oxygen-rich blood. Eventually the heart muscles weaken, which increases the risk of heart failure.

Aortic stenosis (AS), a narrowing of the aortic valve, is a common valve problem. There are two main causes of AS:

  • Birth defect: Some people are born with an aortic valve that has two of the three flaps (leaflets) fused together. These bicuspid valves are a congenital defect and can restrict blood flow, though problems may not appear until adulthood.
  • Aging: Aortic stenosis is more commonly caused by calcium, a mineral naturally found in the blood. Over the years, calcium can collect on the valve as blood flows by, eventually stiffening and narrowing the valve. While this acquired, degenerative problem usually begins after age 60, it may not cause symptoms for a decade or more.

Aortic stenosis is also occasionally caused by radiation therapy to the chest, some medications, inflammation of the heart’s membrane or rheumatic fever, which can develop when strep throat or scarlet fever are not properly treated.