Calcification is the process that refers to the build-up of calcium on the heart's valves. In elderly patients, aortic stenosis is sometimes caused by the build-up of calcium (mineral deposits) on the aortic valve’s leaflets. Over time the leaflets become stiff, reducing their ability to fully open and close. When the leaflets don’t fully open, your heart must work harder to push blood through the aortic valve to your body. Eventually, your heart gets weaker - increasing the risk of heart failure (your heart cannot supply enough blood to your body).
Severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis (symptomatic means when you are showing symptoms) is a life threatening condition that progresses rapidly and can lead to sudden death. Without treatment, half of the people who are feeling symptoms die within an average of two years.
Today, there are multiple treatment options for aortic valve stenosis. For people who have been diagnosed with severe symptomatic calcified native aortic valve stenosis and who are high-risk or too sick for open-heart surgery, a new option is now available - transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). It is a less invasive procedure that does not require open-heart surgery.