Is aortic valve calcification a sign I am developing heart disease?
Answers from Rekha Mankad, M.D.
Aortic valve calcification is a condition in which calcium deposits form on the aortic valve in the heart. These deposits can cause narrowing at the opening of the aortic valve. This narrowing can become severe enough to reduce blood flow through the aortic valve, a condition called aortic valve stenosis.
Aortic valve calcification may be an early sign that you have heart disease, even if you don't have any other heart disease symptoms.
Calcification and stenosis generally affect people older than age 65. When it occurs in younger people, it's often caused by:
- A heart defect that's present at birth
- Other illnesses, such as kidney failure
Aortic valve sclerosis — thickening and stiffness of the valve and mild aortic calcification — usually doesn't cause significant heart problems, but requires regular checkups to make sure your condition isn't worsening. If the valve becomes severely narrowed (stenotic), aortic valve replacement surgery may be necessary.
July 24, 2014
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- Nishimura RA, et al. 2014 AHA/ACC guideline for the management of patients with valvular heart disease: Executive Summary: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2014;24:217.
- Siscovick DS, et al. Aortic valve sclerosis and valve calcification. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 13, 2014.