Health Advice



Secrets of the heart

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Aortic stenosis. Sounds serious. It is. Aortic stenosis means that the opening of the aortic valve in your heart has narrowed, and the valve is no longer able to function normally. The valve's job is to sit between your heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle) and the main artery called the aorta, and make sure oxygen-rich blood flows smoothly to your body. When the valve narrows or can't move as it should, that can cause heart failure, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath and/or fatigue. But sometimes a faulty valve doesn't cause any symptoms. As many as 37% to 46% of people with severe aortic stenosis are asymptomatic.

That's had doctors wondering if it would be smart to intervene early and do valve replacement surgery when the person is without symptoms and the condition is still not severe. Studies have found that waiting can increases the risk of sudden cardiac death and congestive heart failure.

Now, a study in American Journal of Cardiology suggests replacing an asymptomatic aortic valve using a minimally-invasive procedure called TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) is not only a good idea -- it's better than using the standard surgical approach. Seems it slashes the post-op risk of disabling stroke or death from 4.8% to 1.3%, and folks getting the TAVR procedure have better quality of life.

So if you have been diagnosed with asymptomatic AS (another good reason to have regular checkups), talk to your cardiologist about whether TAVR makes sense for you sooner rather than later.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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