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Heart Attack Warning Signs
Symptoms of a heart attack can include, but are not limited to:
- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness or squeezing pain the center of your chest, lasting more than a few minutes.
- Pain or discomfort in your shoulders, jaw, neck or arms.
- Lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
Whether you suspect a heart attack or think it's just indigestion, act immediately. Be aware that you may not have all of these symptoms, and symptoms can come and go.
If you believe you or someone else may be experiencing a heart attack:
- Call 911 first.
- Sit quietly or lie down if you are feeling faint. Breathe slowly and deeply.
- Take a single aspirin tablet, unless you are allergic to it.
Aortic Valve Disease
Aortic valve disease is a condition where the valve between the main pumping chamber of your heart and the main artery to your body, the aorta, doesn't work properly. Aortic valve disease may be a congenital condition or it can result from other causes.
Types of aortic valve disease include:
- Aortic valve stenosis — in this condition, the flaps or cusps of the aortic valve may become thickened and stiff, or they may fuse together. This causes narrowing of the aortic valve opening. The narrowed valve cannot open fully, which reduces or blocks blood flow from your heart into your aorta and the rest of your body.
- Aortic valve regurgitation — in this condition, the aortic valve doesn't close properly, causing blood to flow backward into the left ventricle.
Your treatment depends on the type and severity of your aortic valve disease. In some cases, you may need surgery to repair or replace the aortic valve.
Some people with aortic valve disease may not experience symptoms for many years. Signs and symptoms of aortic valve disease can include:
- Abnormal heart sound (heart murmur) heard through a stethoscope.
- Shortness of breath, particularly when you have been active or when you lie down.
- Chest pain or tightness.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Fatigue after being active or having less ability to be active.
- Not eating enough. This occurs mainly in children with aortic valve stenosis.
- Not gaining enough weight. This occurs mainly in children with aortic valve stenosis.
Aortic valve disease can be caused by a congenital heart defect. It also can be caused by other conditions, including age-related changes to the heart, infections, high blood pressure or injury to the heart.
Aortic valve replacement
To repair an aortic valve, surgeons may conduct several types of repair, including separating valve flaps that have fused, removing excess valve tissue so that the valve flaps can close tightly or patching holes in a valve.
Doctors may conduct a procedure using a long, thin tube, or catheter, to open up a valve with a narrowed opening. This is called aortic valve stenosis. In this procedure, which is called balloon valvuloplasty, a doctor inserts a catheter with a balloon on the tip into an artery in your groin and guides it to the aortic valve. A doctor then inflates the balloon, which expands the opening of the valve. The balloon is then deflated, and the catheter and balloon are removed.
Doctors also may use a catheter procedure to insert a plug or device to repair a leak around a replaced aortic valve.
Aortic valve replacement
Aortic valve replacement is often needed to treat aortic valve disease. In aortic valve replacement, your surgeon removes the damaged valve and replaces it with a mechanical valve, or a valve made from cow, pig or human heart tissue. The latter is called a biological or tissue valve. Another type of biological tissue valve replacement that uses your own pulmonary valve is sometimes possible.
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly. This is called aortic valve stenosis. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement is sometimes called transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).
TAVR is usually reserved for people who can't undergo open-heart surgery or surgery presents too many risks. TAVR can relieve the signs and symptoms of aortic valve stenosis, and may improve survival in people who can't undergo surgery or have a high risk of surgical complications.
During TAVR, doctors may access your heart through a blood vessel in your leg. A hollow tube, or catheter, is inserted through the access point. Your doctor uses advanced imaging techniques to guide the catheter through your blood vessels, to your heart and into your aortic valve.
Once it's precisely positioned, special tools and the replacement valve are passed through the catheter. A balloon is expanded to press the replacement valve into place in the aortic valve. When your doctor is certain the valve is securely in place, the catheter is withdrawn from the insertion point.
Cardiovascular surgery is performed by Mayo Clinic Health System's world-class surgical team in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, or at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Your local cardiology experts can manage your consultations and diagnostic tests, as well as preoperative and postoperative care. This approach ensures you receive the best heart care while minimizing travel and keeping you close to home and family. Mayo Clinic Health System is with you every step of the way, no matter the level of care needed in your health journey.