Other heart valve disorders
Mitral valve stenosis
Mitral valve stenosis involves a narrowing of the mitral valve. This means that the valve does not open far enough to allow the blood to flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle.
The aortic valve, which is also located in the left half of the heart, sends the flow of blood from the left ventricle back to the aorta and from there back into the body circulation.
Aortic valve stenosis
This is the most common heart valve disorder. In this instance, the heart valve is hardened and narrowed at the exit from the left ventricle. The result is that the heart has to work harder to pump oxygen rich [blood] into the aorta and to the body. In any event, depending on the degree of severity, an adequate quantity of oxygen rich blood is no longer circulating in the body, which can give rise to symptoms such as dizziness or syncope (passing out). Later in life wear and calcification of the heart valve are the most common causes of aortic valve stenosis.
Aortic valve insufficiency
With aortic valve insufficiency the aortic valve no longer closes properly. Because of this, part of the blood that is pumped from the left ventricle into the aorta flows back again. However, because the left ventricle also has to accommodate fresh blood coming in from the left atrium, it becomes enlarged. This can result in cardiac insufficiency (a weak heart). Possible causes of aortic valve insufficiency are acute rheumatism, an affliction that can also affect the heart valves, or inflammation of the aortic valve (endocarditis) caused by bacteria.