Skip to Content
View Additional Content In This Section
A congenital heart defect is a malformation that has been present
since birth. The most common heart defect that causes
aortic valve stenosis is a bicuspid aortic valve. A
normal (tricuspid) aortic valve has three flaps, or leaflets. A bicuspid valve
has only two leaflets.
This abnormal valve structure causes rough, turbulent blood flow,
which over the years can lead to stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve) through the same degenerative process
that occurs in normal valves. The main difference is that people who have
bicuspid valves will typically develop stenosis in their 30s or 40s and people who have normal valves may develop stenosis after age 50 or 60.
People who have a bicuspid valve are also more likely than other
people to get an infection (infective endocarditis) that can cause the aortic
valve to become leaky (aortic regurgitation) as well as narrow.
Two less common congenital defects can cause aortic valve
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - PediatricsSpecialist Medical ReviewerLarry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology
Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015
Current as of:
February 20, 2015
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Larry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.