Aortic valve stenosis isn't considered preventable, and presently it's not known why some people develop this condition. Some risk factors include:

  • A deformed aortic valve. Some people are born with an already narrowed aortic valve or develop aortic valve stenosis later in life because they were born with a bicuspid aortic valve — one with two flaps (cusps) instead of three. People may also develop aortic valve stenosis if they were born with one cusp (unicuspid aortic valve) or four cusps (quadricuspid aortic valve), but these are much more rare conditions.

    A bicuspid aortic valve is a major risk factor for aortic valve stenosis. A bicuspid aortic valve can run in families, so knowing your family history is important. If you have a first-degree relative — a parent, sibling or child — with a bicuspid aortic valve, it is reasonable to check to see if you have this abnormality.

  • Age. Aortic valve stenosis may be related to increasing age and the buildup of calcium deposits on heart valves.
  • Previous rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can cause the flaps (cusps) of your aortic valve to stiffen and fuse, eventually resulting in aortic valve stenosis.
  • Chronic kidney disease. Aortic valve stenosis is associated with chronic kidney disease.

Risk factors for aortic valve stenosis and atherosclerotic heart disease are similar — such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and smoking — which may indicate a link between the two.

Dec. 02, 2016