Aortic stenosis is a condition when the leaflets that make up the aortic valve do not separate fully, causing a blockage of blood flow to the body. This can be a little blockage (mild) or it can be a large blockage (severe). This blockage increases the pumping work of the left ventricle. It may lessen the amount of blood that goes out of the ventricle (lower left chamber) to the body through the aortic valve.
Aortic stenosis can occur on its own, or as part of a group of abnormalities that together effect the left side of the heart. In most cases, aortic valve stenosis occurs before a baby is born. A baby may become symptomatic shortly after birth or if stenosis is mild and causes no symptoms, not until later in life. Rarely, aortic stenosis can develop after rheumatic fever or endocarditis.
Symptoms of aortic stenosis include poor blood flow to the body with pale or grey color, weak pulses and shock. Children with milder cases may tire easily or have to rest during exercise. Some children may faint when not enough blood is reaching the body. In severe cases, sudden cardiac death can occur.
Treatment for aortic stenosis varies widely depending on the severity of the blockage and the symptoms. Some children may need only to be monitored regularly, while others may require a procedure. See more details for treatments below.
Normal heart – in a healthy heart with proper blood flow, the blue droplets representing oxygen-poor blood travel to the lungs, and the red oxygen-rich droplets circulate through the body.
A heart with aortic stenosis has leaflets that do not separate fully, causing a blockage of blood flow.