Aortic Valve Stenosis

Babies, children and young adults who have aortic stenosis can be treated surgically or with a catheter procedure that splits the deformed valve leaflets to enlarge the opening without replacing the valve. These procedures are successful only if the aortic valve is still thin enough to be manipulated.

Stenosis may return and eventually cause the valves to stiffen. Another surgery or catheter procedure may be required later in life to further repair or replace the valve.

The catheter procedure is called balloon valvuloplasty. During this procedure, a catheter — a thin, flexible, plastic tube — is inserted into the heart via blood vessels in the leg. Catheters can be used to carry very small instruments or repair devices, such as a balloon, to the heart. A balloon at the tip of the catheter is inserted into the narrow opening in the valve and then inflated to stretch the valve opening and separate the valve leaflets.

This balloon procedure, which opens the blocked valve in most patients, is performed in our Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. Occasionally, a patient's valve will leak after the balloon procedure and a surgical repair is necessary.

For adults with severe aortic stenosis, treatment is more likely to include surgical replacement with either a manufactured valve or valve from another person. Another surgical repair involves removing obstructive tissue, which may be done with valve replacement.

Patients with aortic stenosis are given antibiotics to avoid heart infections during surgery or dental work. Medications may be used to control symptoms of aortic stenosis, such as high blood pressure or heart rhythm problems.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Heart Center

Cardiothoracic Surgery Program
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 476-3501
Fax: (415) 353-4144

Interventional Cardiology Program
1975 Fourth St., Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-4704
Fax: (415) 353-4144
Appointment information

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