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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Aortic Stenosis
Answer: The timing of the surgery is difficult. In general, we try to get as much mileage out of the original equipment as possible. However, we do no desire that there is permanent damage to the heart muscle by delay. In general, children are put off, if possible, since delay will minimize the number of operations needed over their lifetime. Each repeat operation is more difficult due to scar tissue, etc., and the valves have a finite lifetime. Also, the childís heart enlarges with growth and a valve put in at age 3 will be insufficient by age 14 in most cases . Aortic stenosis is one of the more difficult problems to give advice on since it is very dependent on several factors including the gradient of pressure across the heart, the change in muscle thickness, etc. The prognosis in simple aortic stenosis is very good, but may require multiple surgeries.