Overview

What Is Bicuspid Aortic Valve?

Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is the most common congenital heart disorder, affecting approximately one to two percent of people. It is at least twice as likely to occur in men as in women. The cause of BAV is not completely clear, but experts believe it develops during the early stages of pregnancy. It can run in families with an estimated prevalence of 10 to 30 percent.

Your aortic valve helps controls the flow of blood from the heart through the aorta and out to the body. A normal aortic valve has three leaflets that open and close in sync with the heart’s pumping to keep blood moving in one direction.

Sometimes during a person’s fetal development, two of the three leaflets of the aortic valve fuse creating a bicuspid or two leaflet valve, instead of the normal tricuspid or three leaflet valve. This two leaflet valve can cause the valve to not function properly. Over time, it may strain the heart and could lead to serious health complications.

Many patients with BAV also have dilation of the aorta, which is the major blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. BAV impacts both the aortic valve and the thoracic aorta.

Many people with BAV will need surgery in their lifetime, either for the aortic valve, the thoracic aorta or both. Surgery may be minimally invasive. With some patients, surgeons can repair a leaky valve, but other times, the aortic valve will need to be replaced.

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Related Resources

  • Valvular Heart Disease Clinical Outcomes: Learn more about Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, where we evaluate our clinical outcomes so that we can fully understand how our treatments and procedures benefit our patients.