This week I have chosen two questions sent in by readers, both regarding heart related issues. As always, I am delighted to answer any queries in my capacity as a full time NHS GP. However, this must not be a substitute for consulting with your own doctor
QUESTION: My GP noticed a murmur when examining me and sent me for an echocardiogram. I was surprised as I don’t have any symptoms and have always considered myself to be fit and well. I’ve been told that I have aortic stenosis, but that they are just going to follow it up with a yearly scan. Please can you explain – John, 71.
A The aortic valve lies at the exit of the left ventricle (LV), the heart’s main pumping chamber. When the heart contracts and blood is forced out of the LV and into the aorta, the body’s major blood vessel, this valve serves to prevent any backflow of blood into the LV.
The valve normally has three cusps (it may be easy to think of it as like a Mercedes Benz star). With age, the valve…