Aortic Valve Disease Overview
The aortic valve is one of four valves in the heart. When working properly, it ensures blood flow out of the heart to the rest of the body.
The aortic valve is housed within the aortic root of the heart, which provides structural support for it within the first portion of the aorta, the largest artery in the body.
When problems arise in the aortic valve, it can cause too much pressure to build because the valve isn't opening fully (aortic stenosis), or it can cause too much blood volume because the valve isn't closely properly (aortic regurgitation).
The aortic valve has three cusps. Because the cusps are shaped like half moons, the aortic valve is referred to as a semilunar valve. The aortic valve regulates oxygen rich blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta, where blood is delivered to the rest of the body.
There are two main diseases or malfunctions of heart valves: regurgitation (valve does not close tightly) and stenosis (valve does not open fully). Regurgitation and stenosis disrupt the heart cycle because the heart valves fail to open and close properly, resulting in improper blood flow through the heart.
Aortic Valve Stenosis
The Center for Heart Valve Disease Team
The Center for Heart Valve Disease at Northwestern Memorial Hospital has a multidisciplinary team to diagnose and treat aortic valve disease. The team includes cardiologists and cardiac surgeons who have specialized training with aortic valve disease.
Patients within the Center for Heart Valve Disease are closely followed by a heart valve coordinator who is available to answer questions and assist patients and referring cardiologists.
Aortic Valve Insufficiency/Regurgitation
For more information regarding the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, please call 312-NM-HEART (664-3278) or request a first time appointment online.