There are different causes that might result in aortic stenosis (see “what is aortic stenosis”) including:
- Calcification of the valve
- Rheumatic fever
- Congenital heart problems
Calcification of the valve
Over the years, valves suffer an ageing process that consists on calcium build-up in its cusps, which results in stiffness and opening problems.
Not all calcification of the aortic valve cases result in a narrowing of it, but on many occasions such calcium build-up may cause a reduction of the left ventricle exit wound. This is known as calcific aortic stenosis and it is the most common cause of aortic stenosis in our society.
Despite decreasing the frequency in environment, it is a cause we have to take into consideration due to its manifestations observed years after its onset.
As a consequence of tonsillitis caused by strep bacteria, in the context of rheumatic fever, it may cause an inflammation of the aortic valve cusps (and also the rest of the heart valves: mitral and tricuspid valves above all) that, over the years, causes stiffness and it might result in valve stenosis. We would talk about aortic stenosis of rheumatic origin.
Congenital heart problem
Most of the aortic valves have three cusps, whose proper opening and closing makes the valve function to be appropriate.
However, sometimes and congenitally some people have one aortic valve with just two cusps (bicuspid valve), or much less frequent, four cusps (tetracuspid or quadricuspid aortic valve) or just one (unicuspid or monocuspid aortic valve).
All congenital alterations of the aortic valve are prone to suffer aortic stenosis in adults. It would then be a bicuspid aortic stenosis (or monocuspid, etc.)