Aortic calcification: An early sign of heart valve problems?
The aortic valve is between the lower left heart chamber and the body's main artery (aorta). Aortic valve calcification is a condition in which calcium deposits form on the aortic valve. These deposits can cause the valve opening to become narrow. Severe narrowing can reduce blood flow through the aortic valve — a condition called aortic valve stenosis.
Aortic valve calcification may be an early sign of heart disease, even if there aren't any other heart disease symptoms.
Calcification and stenosis generally affect older adults. When it occurs in younger people, it's often caused by:
- A heart defect that's present at birth (congenital heart defect)
- Other illnesses, such as kidney failure
Aortic valve sclerosis — thickening and stiffness of the valve and mild aortic calcification — usually doesn't cause significant heart problems. But it requires regular checkups to make sure the condition isn't worsening. If the valve becomes severely narrowed (stenotic), aortic valve replacement surgery may be necessary.
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