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Aortic Valve Stenosis - Exams and Tests

Physical exam

A physical exam and review of your medical history are important first steps in diagnosing aortic valve stenosis. If you have stenosis but no symptoms, your doctor will likely find the condition during a routine exam or a checkup for another health problem. A distinctive heart murmur is usually the first clue that leads a doctor to suspect aortic valve stenosis.

During the physical exam, the doctor will:

  • Take your blood pressure.Low blood pressure may mean that not enough blood is getting through the narrowed aortic valve.
  • Check your pulse. A weak pulse may mean that there is narrowing of the heart valve.
  • Listen to your heart and lungs for abnormal sounds. A soft whooshing or humming sound (murmur) heard through a stethoscope is an important finding that often points to heart valve disease. Abnormal sounds in the lungs can mean fluid buildup in the lungs that is caused by heart valve disease.
  • Look at your legs and feet. Swelling in the legs and feet may be a sign of heart failure.

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram (echo) can confirm your symptoms and tell your doctor how severe stenosis is, how well your left ventricle is working, and whether there are problems with other valves.

It's also an important test to help monitor aortic valve stenosis over time.

Recommended frequency for checking aortic valve stenosis1
Severity of aortic valve stenosis How often you should have an echocardiogram

Mild

Every 3 to 5 years

Moderate

Every 1 to 2 years

Severe

Every 6 to 12 months

Other tests for aortic valve stenosis

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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