The Heart and Valve Clinic at Portneuf bring together the clinical expertise of cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists and interventionists to diagnose and treat complex heart valve diseases. Located within Portneuf Heart and Lung Center, the Heart and Valve Clinic brings a multidisciplinary approach to heart valve care.

Human heart valves are remarkable structures that open and close to regulate blood flow. There are four valves that control the flow of blood through your heart. One of which is called the aortic valve. Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve, which limits the aortic valve’s ability to fully open and close. As a result, less oxygen-rich blood flow from the lungs to the brain and rest of the body, this may cause symptoms like severe shortness of breath and extreme fatigue.

Our team of experts can provide recommendation for treatments that are tailored specifically for you and your complex valve condition.

One of the most common valve condition is Aortic Stenosis.

Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis

The symptoms of aortic disease are commonly misunderstood by patients as ‘normal’ signs of aging. Many patients initially appear asymptomatic, but on closer examination up to 37% exhibit symptoms.

You may notice symptoms like:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Light-headedness, feeling dizzy, and/or fainting
  • Difficulty when exercising

It’s important to know that heart valve disease may occur with no outward symptoms.

Risk Factors associated with aortic valve disease include the following:

  • Increasing age
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking


Aortic stenosis can become severe with or without symptoms. Severe Aortic Stenosis is a very serious problem. Without treatment, half of the people who are feeling symptoms die within an average of two years. It is very important to get diagnosed and get treatment without delay.


Treatment for aortic stenosis depends on how far your disease has progressed. If your stenosis is mild, medication may be prescribed to help regulate your heartbeat and prevent blood clots. However, as the severity of your stenosis progresses, your doctor may recommend replacing the diseased aortic valve. It is important to know that severe aortic stenosis cannot be treated with medication. The only effective treatment is to replace your aortic valve.

There are Two Options to Replace Aortic Valves

Please consult with a TAVR Heart Team (Interventional Cardiologist & Cardiothoracic Surgeon) about which treatment option if right for you.

The First Option is Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR)

Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR) through open-heart surgery is a common treatment for severe aortic stenosis. Surgical AVR has been performed for many years on patients who can undergo surgery and has lengthened patients’ lives.

Surgical AVR is an open-heart procedure. During surgical AVR, the surgeon removes the diseased aortic valve and replaces it with either a mechanical valve (made from man-made materials) or a biological valve (made from animal or human tissue).

Aortic valve replacement can also be performed through minimal incision valve surgery (MIVS). In MIVS, the surgeon can replace the diseased valve through a smaller incision while looking directly at the heart or through a small, tube-shaped camera. MIVS may be an option for some patients.

The Second Option is Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

For people who have been diagnosed with severe symptomatic calcified native aortic valve stenosis and who are high-risk or too sick for open-heart surgery, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) may be an alternative, and results in lengthening patients’ lives.

If a Heart Team determines that you are at high-risk or too sick for open-heart surgery, TAVR may be an alternative. This less invasive procedure allows a new valve to be inserted within your native, diseased aortic valve. The TAVR procedure can be performed through two different approaches – transfemoral (through an incision in the leg) or transapical (through an incision in the chest between the ribs). Your Heart Team (Interventional Cardiologist & Cardiothoracic Surgeon) will decide which approach is best for you based on your medical condition and other factors.