Heart Valve Disease

The John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute (JOHVI) offers same-day access for advanced cardiac programs, uses cutting-edge technology and the latest innovations and participates in clinical research trials.

The Heart Valve Program is highly specialized offering the latest advances for patients with heart valve disorders.  The program offers state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment with traditional and minimally invasive procedures. This includes: cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, cardiac computed tomography, echocardiography, cardiac catheterization, valvuloplasty, transcatheter valve replacements and minimally invasive surgery.

What is aortic stenosis?

Human heart valves are remarkable structures. These tissue paper thin membranes attached to the heart wall constantly open and close to regulate blood flow (causing the sound of a heartbeat). There are four valves that control the flow of blood through your heart, one of which is called the aortic valve. When there is a narrowing of your heart's aortic valve opening, this is known as aortic stenosis. This narrowing does not allow normal blood flow. With aortic stenosis, your heart needs to work harder and may not pump enough oxygen-rich blood to your body. It is most often caused by age-related calcification, but can be caused by a birth defect, rheumatic fever, or radiation therapy.

What are the signs of aortic stenosis?

Click here to use the Symptom Checklist. You can print a copy to bring with you to your next doctor appointment.

You may notice symptoms like:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, feeling dizzy, and/or fainting
  • Difficulty when exercising

Major risk factors

Factors associated with aortic valve disease include the following:

  • Increasing age
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking