Congenital aortic stenosis refers to an abnormally formed aortic valve which produces varying degrees of obstruction. Patients with mild aortic stenosis have no symptoms while those with moderate and severe aortic stenosis can experience shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or fainting. Patients with symptoms from aortic stenosis as well as those with severe obstruction require treatment to relieve valve obstruction.
Many young patients with congenital aortic stenosis can be effectively treated with a balloon valvuloplasty or surgical valvotomy. These procedures reduce the valve obstruction and often delay the need for valve replacement for a number of years. If the aortic valve is calcified, however, successful valvuloplasty is rarely achieved and aortic valve replacement is generally necessary. Both balloon and surgical valvuloplasty produce a leak in the aortic valve known as aortic regurgitation. This must be followed to determine the optimal timing of future valve replacement.
When aortic valve replacement does become necessary, there are several valve options including a mechanical valve, a tissue valve, the Ross (or pulmonary autograft) operation, or a homograft.
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