• Aortic Stenosis—Child

    (Stenosis, Aortic—Child; AS—Child)

    Definition

    The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta (the largest artery in the body). Aortic stenosis (AS) is a narrowing of the aortic valve. This narrowing could obstruct or block blood flow from the heart. It could also cause a back-up of flow (and pressure) in the heart and to the lungs. AS can range from mild to severe. In children, it is most often a congenital disorder. This means that the child is born with the condition. It may be due to genetic problems, environment, or chance.
    Heart Chambers and Valves
    heart anatomy
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    In babies, AS is caused by a birth defect of the aortic valve that may result in:
    • One cusp instead of three—When the heart valve is closed, the cusp seals the area.
    • Two cusps that are damaged
    • Cusps that are partly closed or do not open correctly due to thickness
    Damage to the aortic valve can also be caused by certain conditions, like these infections:

    Risk Factors

    These factors increase your child's chance of developing AS:
    • Family members with congenital heart disease that affects valves
    • History of rheumatic fever or bacterial endocarditis
    Tell the doctor if your child has any of these risk factors.

    Symptoms

    If your child has AS, he may not have any symptoms. As your child ages, he may develop symptoms, such as:
    • Extreme fatigue after exercise or exertion
    • Fainting with exercise or exertion
    • Pain, squeezing, pressure, or tightness of the chest, usually occurring with exertion
    • Sensation of rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
    • Shortness of breath
    • Dizziness with exertion
    In rare cases, AS can cause:
    • Abnormal heart rhythms ( arrhythmia )
    • Sudden death with no previous symptoms

    Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may be alerted of AS by the following:
    • Abnormal chest sounds, such as a heart murmur or click
    • Noticeable chest heave or vibration when the doctor's hand is held over your child’s heart
    To confirm the diagnosis, tests may include:
    • Chest x-ray —a test that uses radiation to take pictures of structures inside the chest
    • Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)—a test that records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle; may show signs of heart strain or enlargement
    • Echocardiogram —a test that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the size, shape, and motion of the heart
    • Exercise stress test —the recording of the heart during exercise
    • Cardiac catheterization (rarely done)—an x-ray of the heart's circulation that is done after injection of contrast dye

    Treatment

    If your child has mild AS, his condition will be monitored. He may not need treatment right away.

    Lifestyle Changes

    If your child has moderate to severe AS, the doctor may advise him to avoid strenuous physical activity. For example, your child will not be able to play competitive sports.

    Medicines

    If necessary, your child may be given medicines to help prevent heart failure . In certain cases, your child may need to take antibiotics before dental appointments or surgical procedures. This is to prevent an infection that could affect his heart.

    Surgery

    Severe AS may require surgery. Options include:
    • Balloon valvuloplasty —A balloon device is passed through the arteries to open or enlarge the aortic valve. This may provide relief of symptoms. Since the valve can become blocked again, this surgery may need to be repeated.
    • Aortic valve replacement —This is the surgical replacement of a defective heart valve.

    Prevention

    Congenital AS cannot be prevented.

    RESOURCES

    American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org/

    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca/home/index%5Fe.aspx/

    Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery http://www.canadianvascular.ca/

    References

    American Dental Association. Antibiotic prophylaxis. American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/2157.aspx . Accessed August 30, 2010.

    American Heart Association. New guidelines regarding antibiotics to prevent infective endocarditis. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/ . Accessed August 30, 2010.

    Badash M. Aortic stenosis. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated December 17, 2009. Accessed June 29, 2010.

    Children’s Hospital Boston. Aortic stenosis. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site481/mainpageS481P0.html . Accessed June 29, 2010.

    Cincinnati Children’s. Aortic stenois. Cincinnati Children’s website. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/heart-encyclopedia/anomalies/avs.htm . Updated July 2009. Accessed June 29, 2010.

    DynaMed Editorial Team. Aortic stenosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 2010. Accessed June 29, 2010.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.