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What Is Aortic Stenosis?

Aortic stenosis (pronounced a-OR-tik sten-OH-sis) is the narrowing or blocking of the heart's aorta. The aorta is the artery that carries oxygen-rich (red) blood from the heart to the body.

Stenosis can happen above the aortic valve or below the aortic valve, or the valve itself may be stenotic.

If the aorta or valve is narrowed, the left ventricle has to pump harder to push blood through it. To perform the extra work, the muscular wall of the ventricle gets thicker.

Aortic Stenosis in Children

Some children begin life with a normal aorta and valve, and they develop aortic stenosis later on. One cause is rheumatic fever, a problem with inflammation that can develop after an infection with Streptococcus bacteria.

Some children are born with aortic stenosis. The causes aren’t clear.

About four in 1,000 babies are born with aortic stenosis. It’s about four times more common in boys than in girls.

Aortic Stenosis at Seattle Children’s

Our heart team has treated many children with aortic stenosis. We have extensive experience with the treatment these patients may require, including cardiac catheterization and surgery. We also have a pediatric cardiac anesthesia team and a cardiac intensive care unit ready to care for children who undergo heart surgery.

When you come to Children's, a team of people will take care of your child. Along with your child's cardiologist, you are connected with neonatologists, pulmonologists (lung doctors), nurses, child life specialists, social workers and others, if their expertise is needed. We work together to meet all of your child's health needs and help your family through this experience.

Since 1907, Children's has been treating children only. Our team members are trained in their fields and also in meeting the unique needs of children. For example, the doctors who give your child anesthesia are board certified in pediatric anesthesiology. This means they have extra years of training in how to take care of kids. Our child life specialists know how to help children understand their illnesses and treatments in ways that make sense for their age. Our expertise in pediatrics truly makes a difference for our patients and families.

The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program shared by Children’s and the University of Washington can help with care throughout your child’s life.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Cold Water Shock Can Quickly Cause Drowning
  • E-Cigs Are Addictive and Harmful
  • Bystanders Can Intervene to Stop Bullying

Download Spring 2014 (PDF)