What is aortic valve stenosis in newborns?

What can you expect if your newborn has severe aortic valve stenosis?

  • You may see tubes and wires attached to your baby. This can be scary to see. But these things help the doctor treat your baby. The tubes supply air, fluid, and medicines to your baby. The wires are attached to machines that help the doctor keep track of your baby's vital signs. These include temperature, blood pressure, breathing rate, and pulse rate.
  • It may seem that your baby is getting lots of tests. All of these tests help your doctor keep track of your baby's condition and give the best treatment possible.
  • If your baby has trouble breathing, the doctor may use a ventilator. This machine helps your baby breathe. To use the machine, the doctor puts a soft tube through your baby's mouth into the windpipe.
  • The hospital staff will give your baby the nutrition that your baby needs. The doctor may feed your baby through a soft tube that goes through the nose and into the stomach. Or the doctor may use an I.V. that goes through the belly button to do this.
  • After surgery, your baby will need routine checkups to check the heart. Your baby may need more surgeries or procedures in the future.
  • It's hard to be apart from your baby, especially when you worry about your baby's condition. Know that the hospital staff is well prepared to care for babies with this condition. They will do everything they can to help. If you need it, get support from friends and family. Ask the hospital staff about counseling and support.

What are the symptoms of mild aortic valve stenosis in newborns?

Many cases are mild and cause no symptoms. If the narrowing gets worse, symptoms may include:

  • Fast breathing.
  • Sweating while feeding.
  • Not eating well.
  • Being fussy a lot of the time.

How is severe aortic valve stenosis in newborns treated?

Your doctor will help you understand your baby's condition, your treatment choices, and what to expect from each choice.

Your doctor may use a procedure called a valvuloplasty to stretch the valve so that it is more open. Your baby will be asleep during this procedure. The doctor puts a thin tube into a blood vessel. This may be a blood vessel in your baby's groin. Or it may be one of the vessels in the belly button.

The tube is called a catheter. It contains a tiny uninflated balloon. The doctor moves the catheter through the blood vessel to the heart. The doctor feeds the balloon into the valve and then inflates it for a short time to stretch open the valve.

Sometimes surgery is done to repair or replace the valve.

How is severe aortic valve stenosis in newborns diagnosed?

Your doctor may hear abnormal heart sounds, such as a heart murmur, when examining your newborn.

Your doctor will order tests to find the cause of abnormal sounds or of symptoms. The most common test used to identify this problem is called an echocardiogram, or "echo" for short. It uses sound waves to make an image of your baby's heart.

Your baby may have other tests, such as an EKG (electrocardiogram), chest X-ray, and checking the amount of oxygen in the blood.

A fetal ultrasound, which lets your doctor see an image of your baby before birth, sometimes finds this problem.

How can you care for your newborn who has aortic valve stenosis?

Your doctor will make sure that you have all the information you need to take care of your baby. Your child's care team can show you how to help your baby. You can also ask the hospital staff about counseling and support.

What is mild aortic valve stenosis in newborns?

Aortic valve stenosis is a type of congenital heart disease. Congenital heart disease refers to heart problems a baby is born with. These heart problems are usually diagnosed at or before birth.

"Aortic" refers to the aorta, one of the two main arteries attached to the heart. The aorta sends oxygen-rich blood (red blood) out to the body. The aortic valve is the gate through which the heart pumps blood into the aorta."Stenosis" means "narrowed."

In aortic valve stenosis, that gate is narrower than normal. If the stenosis gets worse, the heart may have to work harder to push blood through it. And over time, this can weaken the heart.

It can be scary to learn that there is something wrong with your baby's heart. The hospital staff understands this. They will explain what happens and will answer your questions.

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