Combining attentive, compassionate care with our extensive clinical and research resources, UT Southwestern's cardiology experts and vascular specialists deliver individualized care within pre-eminent health care facilities.
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s heart valve experts have the expertise and advanced techniques and technologies necessary to properly diagnose and treat aortic stenosis and improve patients’ quality of life.
Our Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery is one of the nation’s leading programs, offering a variety of treatments for aortic stenosis, including minimally invasive surgery.
Experts in the Latest Treatments for Aortic Stenosis
Aortic stenosis is a heart valve disorder in which the aortic valve is abnormal, restricting blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta.
heart works to compensate for this restriction and pump enough blood to the
rest of the body, the pressure in the left ventricle increases. This pressure
overload causes the walls of the left ventricle to thicken and stiffen (hypertrophy),
preventing the heart from functioning properly.
The experienced heart doctors at UT Southwestern have performed more minimally invasive aortic valve replacements than doctors at any other North Texas center – and our team is a leader in developing new treatments for valve disorders.
While we offer traditional aortic valve replacement, we strive to perform minimally invasive procedures whenever possible. In most cases, our heart specialists can replace damaged aortic valves without open surgery, which significantly reduces patients’ pain and recovery time.
UT Southwestern also offers a dedicated Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. Cardiac rehabilitation is a critical component of recovery and can prevent future heart disease.
Causes of Aortic Stenosis
The causes of aortic stenosis include:
- Congenital aortic stenosis: Caused by
an aortic valve that has two leaflets instead of three
- Rheumatic aortic stenosis: Caused by a history of rheumatic fever, which can damage heart valves and lead to heart failure
- Senile calcific aortic stenosis: Caused by degeneration of and calcium deposits on the aortic valve
Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis
The symptoms of aortic stenosis can include:
Diagnosis of Aortic Stenosis
UT Southwestern’s heart doctors use several tests to determine the problem. Common diagnostic tests include:
- Cardiac catheterization: Used to diagnose and determine the
severity of the condition by measuring pressure gradient across the valve
- Chest X-ray: To visualize calcification of the aortic valve when the
heart size is normal
- Echocardiography (echo or cardiac ultrasound): To
visualize the mitral valve and estimate the degree of stenosis and left
- Electrocardiogram (EKG): To check for left ventricle hypertrophy
- Physical examination: Includes listening for a systolic “crescendo-decrescendo” murmur with a
Treatment options for aortic stenosis include:
- Aortic valve replacement, including transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR): Used in patients with symptomatic
disease and increased pressure gradient
- Balloon valvuloplasty: Used to increase valve size and provide
temporary symptom relief
- Medications: Diuretics
(to reduce water retention) and digitalis compounds (to improve blood flow) to
temporarily relieve symptoms
Clinical TrialsAs one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers a number of clinical trials aimed at improving the outcomes of patients with cardiovascular disease.
Clinical trials often give patients access to leading-edge treatments that are not yet widely available. Eligible patients who choose to participate in one of UT Southwestern’s clinical trials can receive treatments years before they are available to the public.