The heart has four chambers and four valves. The valves open and close to keep blood flowing through the heart. One of these valves, the aortic valve, usually has three flaps, or leaflets. But sometimes people are born with an aortic valve that has two flaps. This is called a bicuspid aortic valve.
A bicuspid aortic valve makes certain heart problems, like aortic valve stenosis and aortic valve regurgitation, more likely.
In aortic valve stenosis, the valve has narrowed. Your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Symptoms may include chest pain, dizziness, fainting, or shortness of breath.
In aortic valve regurgitation, the valve does not close properly. Some of the blood leaks back (regurgitates) through the valve into the heart. Your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Symptoms may include weakness and tiredness, shortness of breath, or an uneven heartbeat.
Although you have a bicuspid heart valve, your heart can work normally. But you have a higher chance that you might get stenosis or regurgitation as you get older. Do your best to keep your heart as healthy as possible. Talk to your doctor about how often you need checkups.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: September 21, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Michael P. Pignone, MD, MPH, FACP - Internal Medicine
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