Aortic Valve Disease | MedStar Health

Types of conditions that can occur when your aortic valve doesn’t function properly

Aortic valve disease is a type of heart valve disease that occurs when the valve between your aorta (the largest blood vessel) and the left ventricle (the heart’s main pumping chamber) doesn’t work as it should.

When your aortic valve malfunctions, it can block blood flow from your heart to the rest of your body, or cause blood to leak back into the left ventricle. Complications of aortic valve disease can include abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), heart failure, and stroke.

Our Structural Heart/Valvular Heart Disease program provides complete care for both types of aortic valve disease: aortic stenosis and aortic insufficiency.

Aortic stenosis

Aortic stenosis, also known as aortic valve stenosis, is a narrowing of the aortic valve. If your aortic valve is narrowed, blood can’t flow through properly, depriving your body of adequate amounts of oxygen-rich blood. It also causes the heart to pump harder than it should.

Aortic regurgitation

With aortic regurgitation, also known as aortic insufficiency, the aortic valve doesn’t close properly, allowing blood to leak back into the left ventricle. This can weaken the left ventricle and prevent your heart from efficiently pumping blood throughout the body.


Your doctor may diagnose you with an aortic valve disease after hearing a heart murmur during a normal exam. Our specialists may recommend one or more diagnostic and imaging procedures.

Angiogram (Angiography)

An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.

Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart. 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology used to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Stress Tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

Transesophageal echocardiogram allows us to take very detailed images of your heart structure from a probe in your esophagus.


Treatment will depend on the severity of your condition. If your symptoms are mild, your doctor may simply recommend monitoring or taking medications to treat the symptoms. If your condition is severe or worsening, you may need surgery to repair or replace the aortic valve.

Aortic Valve Repair and Replacement

Aortic valve repair and replacement procedures include minimally invasive and traditional surgery as well as several types of replacement material.

Balloon Aortic Valvuloplasty

Aortic valvuloplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to open the aortic valve inside your heart.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive option to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly and blocks the flow of blood.

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