Interventional Cardiology

Aortic stenosis

What is aortic stenosis?

A healthy, normal heart valve allows blood to flow in one direction without obstruction. When a valve is narrowed, it is said to have “stenosis”.

The most common valve problem is the narrowing of the aortic valve that lies between the left ventricle and the aorta. This is called aortic stenosis.

Aortic stenosis is usually due to calcium building up on the valve leaflets causing them to become rigid. Blood flow from your heart to your aorta and onward to the rest of your body is obstructed.

When the aortic valve is obstructed, your heart needs to work harder to pump blood to your body.

See Transcathether Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)


Normal aortic valve with thin supple leaflets.

In calcific aortic stenosis, leaflets are thick and rigid. They do not open properly,

What happens if aortic stenosis is left untreated?

Left untreated, aortic valve stenosis can lead to serious medical problems:

  • Shortness of breath due to heart failure with build up of fluid in the lungs.
  • Angina because of insufficient blood reaching the heart muscle.
  • Blackouts because of insufficient blood reaching the head.
  • Sudden death.

Between fifty to eighty percent of patients with severe aortic stenosis who have symptoms, and do not have a valve replacement will typically not survive beyond two years.

What is the treatment for aortic stenosis?

If you have severe aortic valve stenosis, you will usually need to have the valve replaced. Traditionally, major surgery was needed to replace the aortic valve.  

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) is a major breakthrough for replacing the aortic valve. Depending on patient risk factors TAVI has a lower death rate and lower stroke rate than surgical aortic valve replacement, is much less invasive and has a faster recovery time. In 2008, Professor John Ormiston and the team at Intra (formerly Mercy Angiography) were the first to perform the TAVI procedure in the Asia Pacific region.

Most health insurance providers will reimburse this procedure, subject to the approval of health insurance provider.