Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children - Center for Maternal\Fetal Health

Pediatric aortic stenosis care in Denver, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children’s pediatric heart specialists are dedicated to providing the best heart treatment for children and babies who have from aortic stenosis. Our facility is fully equipped with the latest, cutting-edge technology and a family-friendly environment to ensure your child is comfortable during their visit.

What is aortic stenosis?

Aortic stenosis is a heart abnormality that may be present at birth (congenital) or developed later in life (acquired). If it is congenital, it means your baby’s aortic valve developed abnormally during the first eight weeks of pregnancy.

The aortic valve has three “leaflets” that function like a one-way door, allowing blood to flow forward into the largest artery of the heart (the aorta) but not backward into the left ventricle.

Aortic stenosis is the inability of the aortic valve to open completely. With aortic stenosis, problems with the aortic valve make it harder for the leaflets to open and permit blood to flow forward from the left ventricle to the aorta. In children, these problems can include a valve that:

  • Only has two leaflets instead of three (bicuspid aortic valve)
  • Has leaflets that are partially fused together
  • Has thick leaflets that do not open all the way
  • Becomes damaged by rheumatic fever or bacterial endocarditis
  • Area above or below the valve is narrowed (supravalvar or subvalvar)

Aortic stenosis may be present in varying degrees, classified according to how much obstruction to blood flow is present.

Aortic stenosis symptoms

Aortic stenosis symptoms in children are typically the same in adults. A child with severe aortic stenosis will be quite ill, with major symptoms noted early in life. A child with mild aortic stenosis may have few symptoms or perhaps none until later in adulthood. Symptoms are not noticeable until the amount of blood flow is reduced in the body. Signs of aortic stenosis include:

  • Chest pain, include pressure and tightness
  • Fainting
  • Noticeable heartbeats, including a feeling of heavy chest poundings
  • Declining physical activity
  • Heart murmur
  • Breathlessness

The degree of obstruction can become worse with time. Congenital aortic stenosis occurs in four to six percent of all children with congenital heart disease. Relatively few children are symptomatic in infancy, but the incidence of problems increases sharply in adulthood. Congenital aortic stenosis occurs three times more often in boys than in girls.

Aortic stenosis treatment

For patients with aortic stenosis, an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) will be needed before any treatment is given. Depending on the severity of the abnormality, a heart valve repair or a heart valve replacement may be performed. Our specialists will ensure your child receives the best surgical treatment, so your child spends less time in the hospital recovering from the operation and more time back at home being a kid.