Answers to Common Aortic Stenosis Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about aortic stenosis.

What are the differences between mild, moderate, and severe aortic stenosis?

Aortic stenosis is a progressive disease. Blood flow from the heart to the aorta and out to the rest of the body decreases as calcium deposits continue to build up on the valve’s leaflets. The degree to which the valve is narrowed determines the severity of aortic stenosis.

An echocardiogram is the primary test used to diagnose aortic stenosis. Measurements taken by the technician may also help to identify the severity of the condition. Criteria used to classify the severity of aortic stenosis include:

  • Aortic jet velocity
    The measurement of the velocity (speed) of blood across the aortic valve (measured in meters/second [m/s])
  • Mean gradient
    The change in blood pressure across the aortic valve (measured in millimeters of mercury [mmHG])
  • Aortic valve area
    The size of the aortic valve opening (calculated in terms of the left ventricular outflow tract diameter; measured in cubic centimeters [cm2])

ECHOpedia outlines the following recommendations (based on guidelines developed by the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) for classifying aortic stenosis severity:

  Aortic sclerosis Mild Aortic Stenosis ModerateAortic Stenosis Severe Aortic Stenosis
Aortic jet velocity (m/s) Greater than or equal to2.5 m/s 2.6-2.9 3.0-4.0 >4.0
Mean gradient (mmHg) - <20 20-40 >4.0
AVA (cm2) - >1.5 1.0-1.5 <1

Patients themselves may provide clues about the severity of aortic stenosis. Patients with mild and moderate AS tend to be asymptomatic. reports that people who develop symptoms of severe aortic stenosis have only a 50% chance of living two years without treatment. Hence, people who experience AS symptoms are advised to see their doctor promptly for tests.

Research investigating outcomes for patients with mild and moderate aortic stenosis published in the European Heart Journal, however, advocates for those who are asymptomatic to receive proper education and monitoring to detect the development of mild symptoms and prevent sudden death (albeit a rare occurrence).

Talk to your doctor to learn more about the severity of your aortic stenosis.

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Source: The Premier Heart Associates

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