What is aortic valve stenosis?

Aortic valve stenosis is a narrowing that prevents the aortic valve in the heart from opening all the way. This can stop blood from flowing properly out of the heart.


Many children with aortic valve stenosis don’t have any symptoms at first. The only symptom may be a pronounced heart murmur.

As the condition progresses, children may have:

  • fainting spells
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • irregular heartbeats or heart palpitations
  • chest pain
  • dizziness during or right after physical activity
  • fatigue


Your child’s doctor may suspect aortic valve stenosis if he or she hears an abnormal heart sound or heart murmur when listening to your baby’s heart. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may order other tests, including:

  • electrocardiogram
  • echocardiogram


Some children may not need any treatment except routine monitoring. Other children may need to take medication to help manage symptoms or have a minimally invasive procedure, called balloon dilation, to open the valve. In severe cases, a child might need surgery.

Other heart valve conditions exist and can show up in similar fashion and need cardiac assessment and, sometimes, treatment. These include problems of the pulmonary, mitral and tricuspid valves.

Learn more about Pediatric Cardiology services at Boston Children’s Health Physicians


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