Overview of Aortic Stenosis

Aortic stenosis (AS), also called aortic valve stenosis, is a condition in which the aortic valve has become narrowed or constricted (stenotic) and does not open normally. Calcium in the blood can build up on the valve, causing a hardening (calcification) of the valve.

The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle, or lower chamber of the heart, and the largest artery (aorta). The left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood into the aorta, which carries it to the brain and the rest of the body.

When the aortic valve becomes stenotic, the ability of the left ventricle to pump blood out of the heart to the aorta and other arteries is impaired. The organs receive an insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood, and blood may "back up" into the lungs, causing shortness of breath.

Incidence & Prevalence of Aortic Stenosis

Aortic stenosis affects approximately 5 out of every 10,000 people in the United States. It is more likely to affect men than women; 80 percent of adults with symptomatic AS are male.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jul 2000

Last Modified: 07 Oct 2014