Aortic Valve Stenosis
Exams and Tests
A physical exam and review of your medical history are important first steps in diagnosing aortic valve stenosis. If you have stenosis but no symptoms, your doctor will likely find the condition during a routine exam or a checkup for another health problem. A distinctive heart murmur is usually the first clue that leads a doctor to suspect aortic valve stenosis.
During the physical exam, the doctor will:
- Take your blood pressure. Low blood pressure may mean that not enough blood is getting through the narrowed aortic valve.
- Check your pulse. A weak pulse may mean that there is narrowing of the heart valve.
- Listen to your heart and lungs for abnormal sounds. A soft whooshing or humming sound (murmur) heard through a stethoscope is an important finding that often points to heart valve disease. Abnormal sounds in the lungs can mean fluid buildup in the lungs that is caused by heart valve disease.
- Look at your legs and feet. Swelling in the legs and feet may be a sign of Reference heart failure Opens New Window.
An Reference echocardiogram (echo) can confirm your symptoms and tell your doctor how severe stenosis is, how well your left ventricle is working, and whether there are problems with other valves.
It's also an important test to help monitor aortic valve stenosis over time.
|Severity of aortic valve stenosis||How often you should have an echocardiogram|
Every 3 to 5 years
Every 1 to 2 years
Every 6 to 12 months
Other tests for aortic valve stenosis
- Reference Stress echocardiogram. This test can show how severe your aortic valve stenosis is and how it affects how much you can exercise.
- Reference Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). This test may show abnormalities in heart rhythm or lower left heart chamber (ventricle) thickness.
- Reference Chest X-ray. It may show calcium buildup in the valve, an enlarged left ventricle, or fluid buildup if you have developed heart failure. In some cases, the Reference aorta Opens New Window may be enlarged just beyond the aortic valve.
- Reference Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) test. This test may help show how well your heart is working and if you have heart failure.
- Reference Cardiac catheterization. This test may be done to confirm the results of other tests.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference February 14, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Reference John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology