Is aortic valve calcification a sign I am developing heart disease?
Answer From Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, 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 affects 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 15, 2017
Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Gaasch WH, et al. Natural history, epidemiology, and prognosis of aortic stenosis. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 18, 2017.
- Zakkar M, et al. Aortic stenosis: Diagnosis and management. BMJ. 2016;355:1.
- Dweck M, et al. Aortic valve stenosis and pathogenesis of calcified aortic stenosis. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 18, 2017.
- Nishimura RA, et al. 2017 AHA/ACC focused update of the 2014 AHA/ACC guideline for the management of patients with valvular heart disease: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Circulation. In press. Accessed May 8, 2017.
- AskMayoExpert. Aortic valve stenosis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.