Medical Q&As

Aortic valve - bicuspid?

Can you tell me anything about a bicuspid aortic valve?

The aortic valve is the valve through which the blood is pumped from the left ventricle of the heart into the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body. The valve prevents back flow of blood into the left ventricle, which is one of the four chambers of the heart. The aortic valve consists of three cusps, which are segments of tissue. In your question you refer to a bicuspid aortic valve, which means that there are only two cusps present instead of three. Bicuspid aortic valves are relatively common and occur in about one in twenty of the general population. Sometimes the opening through the valve becomes progressively narrowed because of increased turbulence of blood flowing through a less wide opening than would be the case with a three cusp or tricuspid valve. Most people with bicuspid aortic valves are symptom free and live a normal life. However, some may develop significant narrowing of the valve and this can cause difficulty. If you have specific concerns about yourself or a family member I would suggest that you discuss the matter further with your GP because it is not possible for me to be more specific in my answer. I can only answer your particular query in general terms.