Harvard Heart Letter

Chest pain could be aortic valve disease

Image: Thinkstock

When a stress echocardiogram shows poor blood flow through the aortic valve, doctors must decide how soon to replace the valve.

Valve replacement may be needed, but the topic is hotly debated.

As some people age, the leaflets of the aortic valve become caked with calcium, making them thick and stiff—a condition called aortic stenosis. Because the valves do not open or close normally, blood flow through the heart is impaired. The condition generally causes no symptoms for many years, but a doctor may discover it during a routine examination.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »