Causes and Diagnoses
Causes and Diagnoses of Aortic Disease
Aortic Valve StenosisCommon causes:
- Rheumatic fever (inflammatory disease that may develop after an infection like strep throat or scarlet fever)
- Hypercholesterolemia (excess cholesterol in the blood)
- Congenital bicuspid aortic valve (aortic valve has only two cusps instead of three)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Aortic valve stenosis is typically diagnosed by echocardiogram (ECHO), a non-invasive test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart chambers, valves and major blood vessels.
Aortic Valve Insufficiency/Regurgitation
- Rheumatic fever
- Congenital bicuspid aortic valve
- Infective endocarditis (infection that affects the lining of the heart’s chambers and the heart valves)
- Collagen vascular diseases
- Degenerative valve disease
Rheumatic fever is the most common risk factor. Like aortic valve stenosis, echocardiogram (ECHO) is the most common and effective way of diagnosing aortic valve insufficiency.
Guidelines for the management of patients with valvular heart disease from the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC) suggest routine repeat echocardiography to periodically assess the status of heart valves, even when you’re not experiencing symptoms. Changes over time may indicate that it’s time to reevaluate your medical management protocol or consider surgery.