Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve. The aortic valve is one of four heart valves that control the flow of blood out of the heart. When aortic stenosis occurs, the flaps of the valve thicken, stiffen, or fuse together, so the valve cannot open properly, this is called a stenotic valve. The heart has to work harder and the blood flow is reduced, so there is less oxygen in the body.

Aortic stenosis may make you feel breathless and faint, with heart palpitations and chest pain.

Normal aortic valve (left) and stenotic valve (right)

Click on the 'Information' tab for more details about how to improve your health if you have this condition. 


Echocardiogram (echo)

An echocardiogram, also known as an echo, is a test that uses sound waves to build up a moving picture of the heart.

Balloon aortic valvuloplasty

A balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV) is a procedure which stretches the aortic valve to improve the symptoms of aortic stenosis.

Improving your health

There are some things you can do to help improve your health before you have any procedure and help reduce the risks.

Stop smoking - stopping smoking reduces the risk of breathing problems and can help make any procedure you have safer. There is lots of available support to help you stop smoking. You can:

Control your weight - if you are overweight, losing some weight can help reduce the risks associated with having any kind of surgical procedure. Speak to your GP or practice nurse for advice.

Visit your dentist - making sure that your teeth and gums are healthy helps to reduce the risk of infection. Germs (bacteria) can enter into the bloodstream via the gums and then get into the heart. This can cause a condition known as endocarditis. It can damage the heart valves and cause other serious complications.

Visit your GP - ask your GP for a check-up if you have ongoing medical problems such as:

  • diabetes
  • asthma
  • bronchitis
  • thyroid problems
  • high blood pressure

Useful contacts

  • Adult cardiac care unit (ACCU) - 01895 828 667 or 01895 828 648 (direct lines)
  • Intensive therapy unit (ITU) - 01895 828 682 or 01895 828 685 (direct lines)
  • Woodlands pre-admission unit - 01895 828 827 (Monday - Friday, 8am - 4pm)
  • Woodlands answer machine - 01895 828 827 (24 hours)
  • Cardiac rehabilitation nurses - 01895 282 944 (Monday - Friday, 8am - 4pm)
  • Recovery unit - 01895 823 737 and ask for extension 5330 or 5339
  • Parkwood House (visitor accomodation) - 01895 828 823 
  • Outpatients - 01895 828 695