Aortic Valve Basics

One of the heart’s four valves, the aortic valve separates one of the main pumping areas of the heart (the left ventricle) from the body’s main blood vessel (aorta).

Over time, the aortic valve can become overly stiff. This is usually as a result of a lifetime wear and tear, which, in some people, is accentuated by the presence of only two flaps in the valve rather than the normal three. A stiff aortic valve doesn’t open fully (called stenosis), so not enough blood can leave the heart to fully nourish cells and tissues throughout the body.

In other cases, the valve develops small holes, which allows blood to seep backward into the heart, forcing the heart to pump harder to push the blood back out.

“I had my life saved here.”
Beatrice Sankey was back on her feet the same day her valve was repaired.

How We Can Help

We specialize in both conventional approaches as well as the most advanced, minimally-invasive options.

Whenever possible, our experienced heart specialists will repair a patient’s heart valve by using a nonsurgical approach. In one of these procedures, known as TAVR (short for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement), a flexible device (a catheter) is inserted into a tiny opening in the leg or chest. A surgeon gently maneuvers it into the beating heart, and uses it to repair the valve. With this approach, many patients feel better instantly, with some discharged from the hospital without 24 hours.
We’re one of only a handful of hospitals across the nation that are approved to perform this advanced procedure.