The main cause of aortic stenosis is the buildup of calcium deposits causing the aortic valve to narrow. This is called calcific aortic stenosis and primarily affects older people. Calcification of the valve happens sooner in people who are born with abnormal aortic or bicuspid valves. In rare cases, calcification can develop more quickly when a person has received chest radiation (such as for cancer treatment).
Another cause of aortic stenosis is rheumatic fever. This condition can develop after strep throat or scarlet fever. Valve problems do not develop for 5 - 10 years or longer after rheumatic fever occurs. Rheumatic fever is becoming rarer in the United States.
Aortic stenosis occurs in about 2% of people over 65 years of age. It occurs more often in men than in women.
To learn more about CHI Memorial’s Heart Valve Program, talk with your physician or call the valve clinic coordinator at (423) 495-4327.