Personally performed operations (as of 2019)
Acquired heart valve defects: 3166
Innate heart conditions* (surgery on newborns, children and adults): 2800
Heart transplants: 71
Heart valve disease
Aortic valve stenosis
The aortic valve is the outlet between the left heart chamber and the main artery (aorta). The stenosis of the aortic valve is the most common disease of the heart valves. The cause is a degeneration of the valve, mostly due to advanced age, leading to an increasing calcification and thus reduced mobility of the pouches. Furthermore, a misplacement of the valve can be the reason. Some valves only show two pouches (bicuspid valve) instead of three (tricuspid valve). This can result in a relevant stenosis, already occurring at a young age, due to the continuous dysfunction.
The aortic valve stenosis leads to a thickening of the muscle (hypertrophy) in the left heart chamber, which adapts to the increased resistance. This increase in muscle mass leads to a decrease in elasticity in the chamber and hence results in a suboptimal filling.
Most aortic valve stenoses are asymptomatic at an early stage. Yet in the advanced state, they can cause shortage of breath while under stress, chest pain and even sudden unconsciousness.
There is no medicinal therapy for the aortic valve stenosis. Regular check-ins are recommended (first once a year, then twice) to be able to make the diagnosis for surgery at the right time.
If any of the symptoms described above occur, a timely intervention and/or surgery of the heart valve should be pursued.
*One percent of humans are born with a heart condition, which is often dealt with right after birth. Many patients however – be it in childhood or as an adult – are in need of an additional operation. Furthermore adults, who have been successfully treated early in their lives, can develop the same conditions as any other adult later on. They may need surgery of the valves, aorta or a bypass operation, which can become quite sophisticated because of the earlier intervention.