What is critical aortic stenosis?

“Stenosis” is the medical term for a blockage or narrowing of a passage. Critical aortic stenosis refers to the dangerous and extreme narrowing of the aortic valve in newborn babies.

The aortic valve is the passage through which blood flows out of the lower left chamber (the left ventricle) of the heart to reach the aortic artery, which circulates oxygenated blood to the body. Before birth, a baby can survive well with only one well-functioning ventricle due to unique blood flow patterns. That is not the case after birth. With critical aortic stenosis, the left ventricle is not able to pump blood adequately through the narrowed aortic valve into the aorta.  As a result, a baby with this defect can become very ill soon after birth. Unless the condition is treated immediately, the condition can be fatal because the body is deprived of oxygenated blood.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.