Is aortic valve calcification a sign that I am starting to get heart disease?

Answer From Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.

The aortic valve is between the lower left heart chamber and the body's main artery, called the aorta. Aortic valve calcification is a condition in which calcium builds up on the aortic valve. Buildups of calcium can cause the valve opening to become narrow. Severe narrowing can reduce or block blood flow through the aortic valve — a condition called aortic valve stenosis.

Aortic valve calcification may be an early symptom of heart disease, even if there aren't any other heart disease symptoms.

Aortic valve calcification and stenosis tend to affect older adults. When this process happens in younger people, it's often caused by:

  • A heart condition that's present at birth, also called a congenital heart defect, such as bicuspid aortic valve.
  • Other illnesses, such as kidney failure or familial hypercholesterolemia.

Mild buildups of calcium also usually happen with a condition called aortic valve sclerosis. This condition involves thickening and stiffness of the aortic valve. It usually doesn't cause serious heart problems, but it can lead to aortic valve stenosis. If you have aortic valve sclerosis, get regular healthcare checkups to make sure the condition isn't getting worse. If the condition leads to aortic valve stenosis, you may need surgery or other treatments to replace or fix your aortic valve.


Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.

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July 10, 2024 See more Expert Answers