Aortic valve stenosis
- A heart defect you were born with (congenital).
- Rheumatic fever or endocarditis. These infections can damage the valve.
- Feeling faint or fainting with exertion.
- Shortness of breath, especially with exertion.
- Fatigue, especially during times of increased activity.
- Heart palpitations — sensations of a rapid, fluttering heartbeat.
- Heart murmur.
- Chest X-ray. An X-ray image of your chest allows your doctor to check the size and shape of your heart, to determine whether the left ventricle is enlarged — a possible indicator of aortic valve stenosis. A chest X-ray can also reveal calcium deposits on the aortic valve. In addition, a chest X-ray helps your doctor check the condition of your lungs. Aortic valve stenosis may lead to blood and fluid backing up in your lungs, which causes congestion that may be visible on an X-ray.
- Echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves to produce an image of your heart. In an echocardiogram, sound waves are directed at your heart from a wand-like device (transducer) held on your chest. The sound waves bounce off your heart and are reflected back through your chest wall and processed electronically to provide video images of your heart. An echocardiogram helps your doctor closely examine the aortic valve to check for problems. A specific type of echocardiogram, a Doppler echocardiogram, may be used to help your doctor determine the severity of your aortic valve stenosis and to check for any leakage (regurgitation).
- Cardiac catheterization. Your doctor may order this procedure if noninvasive tests have not provided enough information to firmly diagnose the type or severity of your heart condition. Your doctor threads a thin tube (catheter) through an artery in your arm or groin to an artery in your heart. A dye injected through the catheter fills your heart's arteries, and the arteries become visible on an X-ray. This test helps show blockages in arteries to your heart that can coexist with aortic valve stenosis and may need surgical treatment along with aortic valve stenosis.
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