Most people have an aortic valve that has four sections. Some people are born with an aortic valve that only has two chambers. This condition is called a bicuspid aortic valve. People may also be born with one or even four cusps, but these are much rarer than a bicuspid valve. The condition causes the heart’s aortic valve to narrow which can prevent blood from flowing out of the heart and to the rest of the body.
A bicuspid aortic valve is a congenital issue and a common birth defect. It is hereditary, and if a person has the condition, there is a chance that they can pass it on to their children. There are also other health problems and conditions that can increase the risk of developing this heart condition. Those include:
Congenital heart diseases like bicuspid aortic valve occur in the womb and doctors are not sure what causes them. It is believed that they are the result of a mutation or problem during pregnancy. While there are certain risk factors for the disease, these things cannot cause the problem.
Many people do not have any symptoms of a bicuspid aortic valve until later in life. Some people only experience mild symptoms and do not seek medical attention for them until they become severe. Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include:
To diagnose this condition, doctors will do a physical exam and listen to the patient’s heart to make sure it is beating properly. If they suspect that the patient may have a bicuspid aortic valve, they may order more tests. The most common test used is echocardiogram. This test checks the patient’s aortic valve, the aorta, the heart chambers and how the blood flows from the heart to the rest of the body. If doctors are unable to diagnose a condition with this test, other imaging tests may be necessary.
Some people with bicuspid aortic valve do not require any treatment. Their doctors will monitor them closely for any changes in the way the heart works. Some patients do not need treatment until later on in life. Some common treatment options for someone with this condition include:
Most people with bicuspid aortic valve are able to live normal lives. They either have mild conditions that do not require treatment or are able to receive treatment early in life, that can help the heart work properly. People who are not diagnosed or do not receive treatment may suffer health problems and complications related to the condition.
The heart is a major organ in the body, and if it does not function properly, it can cause problems in other organs. If the condition is not treated, some complications can occur. The most common include: