Pediatric aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve of the heart is narrowed or obstructed, reducing blood flow and causing strain on the heart.
What is Aortic Stenosis?
Aortic stenosis is a heart condition where the aortic valve (which controls the aorta, the largest artery in the body) is narrowed, decreasing the amount of blood pumped through the valve each time the heart beats.
When the aortic valve is healthy, it has three tiny flaps of skin (leaflets) to regulate blood flow like a one-way street. In stenosis, the flaps stick and may not fully close. This causes the heart to work harder, and it can weaken the muscle over time.
The narrowed valve may be present at birth (congenital) or may appear later in life (acquired) due to an untreated strep throat infection. In most cases, the cause is unknown. The level of blockage can vary and become worse over time.
What are the signs and symptoms of Aortic Stenosis?
Symptoms of critical stenosis in infants (birth to 1 year*)
- Weak pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Decreased feeding
- Lethargy (exhaustion)
- In extreme cases, congestive heart failure
Birth to 19-years old**
- Exercise-related chest pain
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations or heart murmur)
*Age limit of infants defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
**Age limit of pediatric/child age group defined by the WHO.