Aortic Stenosis

More than five million Americans are diagnosed with heart valve disease each year. The successful management of valve disease requires close collaboration between a cardiologist and cardiac surgeon to provide the most effective treatment using the least invasive approach possible.

At the Palomar Health Heart & Vascular Center, our physician experts in clinical cardiology, cardiac imaging and cardiac surgery join together to provide a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan for patients with known or suspected heart valve disease.

What is aortic stenosis? 

Aoritc stenosis is a type of heart valve disease. It is a narrowing of your aortic valve that does not allow blood to flow normally through your heart. This could be caused by a  birth defect, high blood pressure or cholesterol, rheumatic fever or can be age related. Aortic stenosis can also be caused by a buildup of calcium in the heart valves. Over time, the valves become stiff which reduces their ability to open and close. When the valves don’t open, your heart must work harder to push blood through the valves to the rest of your body. This extra effort could cause your heart to weaken, increasing your risk of heart failure.


  • Chest pain
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Fainting
  • LIghtheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Change in ability to do normal activities

Treatment Options

There is no drug therapy to permanently treat aortic stenosis. However, there are medications that can help make you feel better temporarily. If your doctor has determined that replacement or repair is the best decision, there are two treatments options to consider.


Open heart surgery is done through an incision the full length of the breast bone or sternum.

  • Invasive surgical procedure
  • Diseased valve is completely removed and replaced with
  • a new valve
  • Surgery time is 3 – 4 hours
  • Hospital stay is typically 7 – 10 days

Interventional Treatment

A Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is an interventional treatment that is done through a catheter inserted in the groin.

  • Minimally invasive, catheter-based technique
  • Catheter is inserted through an artery in the leg
  • New valve is deployed and replaces the
  • diseased valve
  • Procedure time is 1 – 2 hours
  • Hospital stay is typically 3 – 5 days

Which treatment is right? 

If you are considering treatment options for severe aortic stenosis with your doctor, making the decision that is right for you is important. Both treatment options have risks and benefits. While surgery is the standard treatment for most patients, you may
qualify for the TAVR procedure. If you would like more information about TAVR or surgical treatment, talk with your doctor to figure out the best treatment for you.

If you are interested in learning more about the TAVR procedure or treatment of heart valve disease contact our Heart Valve Clinic Coordinator (Mary Russell) at


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