By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - In aortic stenosis the main valve regulating blood flow between the heart and the rest of the body can become critically narrowed or calcified. It can become so contricted that it is hard to push blood through the small opening.
There are often not any symptoms of aortic stenosis until a sigificant blockage occurs. When that happens a lack of blood supply to the rest of the body can result in fainting, heart attacks or early death.
At this point, the only effective therapy is surgery but scientists are starting to look at why it happens and hoping to intervene earlier before the damage gets too great.