This website is for informational use only and does not provide any medical advice.


Symptoms of this heart defect vary, with severe forms in the newborn such as poor cardiac output and bluish discoloration of the skin caused by lack of oxygen in the blood. Other infant symptoms may include lethargy, poor feeding, increased respiratory effort or poor weight gain.

Adult symptoms most often include:

  • Chest discomfort: tightness or squeezing that may worsen with activity and reach into the arm, neck or jaw
  • Cough, possibly bloody
  • Breathing problems when exercising
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations (feeling the heart beat)
  • Fainting, weakness or dizziness with activity

Mild to moderate symptoms of aortic stenosis may not require any treatment other than routine monitoring by a healthcare provider. Sometimes the condition is not detected until a physician’s examination reveals a heart murmur, by which time the disease may be advanced.

When to see a doctor

Anyone experiencing angina (chest pain) or the symptoms listed above should immediately see a physician. The doctor should give you a thorough physical examination and take your detailed medical history, including asking about your level of activity and any changes in your ability to carry out your usual exercise routine.


Aortic valve stenosis can have several causes:

  • Having abnormal aortic or bicuspid valves at birth
  • Having chest radiation such as for cancer treatment (a rare occurrence)
  • Rheumatic fever, which sometimes follows strep throat or scarlet fever (also rare)

Risk factors

Aortic stenosis poses different risks to men, women and children, as well as those with other medical conditions:

Men are more at risk for aortic stenosis than women.
Children are at risk for bacterial endocarditis (heart infection).
Patients with severe aortic stenosis are generally older, with multiple medical conditions that can put them at very high risk if traditional surgical procedures are performed.


An echocardiogram can evaluate for aortic valve stenosis, making diagnostic catheterization rarely necessary. However, to determine whether coronary artery disease is present in patients who will undergo valve surgery, preoperative coronary angiography is performed.