Problem: Heart Valve Stenosis

Updated:Oct 13,2016
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stenosis illustration

About Valve Stenosis

Stenosis is the term for a valve that doesn’t open properly. The flaps of a valve thicken, stiffen, or fuse together. As a result, the valve cannot fully open. Thus, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the valve, and the body may suffer from a reduced supply of oxygen.

Causes of Valve Stenosis

bicuspid valve diagramAll types of heart valve disease are more common with age, although some may be caused by congenital heart defects. For example, a type of malformed aortic valve may be a bicuspid aortic valve. About 1.4 percent of the population is born with a bicuspid valve abnormality which means that instead of having three flaps that open for blood flow, two are fused together. This causes blood to pass through a smaller, restricted opening. Watch a video explaining a bicuspid valve.

Learn about the different types of stenosis:

Outlook for People with Valve Stenosis

Many valve conditions are very treatable and even curable with surgery. However, surgery also has risks that should be evaluated with your healthcare provider. In addition, it’s important to weigh your options carefully; advanced valve problems that remain untreated can be very dangerous and life-threatening.

Many people with valve problems that were at one time very serious and life-threatening have been treated and are now living full and healthy lives.

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This content was last reviewed May 2016.

Heart Valves Are For Life

Watch our friendly and easy-to-understand tour of your heart valves and circulation.