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The aortic valve separates the main pumping chamber of the heart, the left ventricle, from the rest of the body. Because it functions in the high pressure system it needs to function well -- that is, allow blood out of the heart but at the same time prevent blood from travelling backwards.
If the aortic valve is blocked (aortic stenosis), the work of the heart is increased, and when this situation becomes severe, the aortic valve needs to be replaced or the heart will fail. The aortic valve can also leak (aortic insufficiency). This can be because the valve leaflets are abnormal, such as can with a bicuspid aortic valve, or in other conditions in which the valve leaflets are influenced by a disease process.
In addition, the aortic valve may be involved in patients who have aortic aneurysms. The aneurysm may stretch the valve and cause it to leak.
For more information or to schedule a consult, please call 410-328-5842.