Bicuspid Aortic Valve
Most individuals have an aortic valve that consists of three pliable leaflets referred to as a trileaflet valve. In about 2% of the general population, the aortic valve consists of only two leaflets, which is referred to as a bicuspid valve (as seen in the illustration). Approximately, one-third of the patients with a bicuspid aortic valve will have a valve-related complication requiring an intervention. Over time the opening of the valve may become narrowed (stenosis), incompetent (regurgitant), or a combination of narrowing and incompetence. A bicuspid aortic valve will usually fail much earlier than a trileaflet aortic valve. Patients with a bicuspid aortic valve are also at risk of developing an aneurysm of the ascending aorta. Likewise, these patients are at higher risk of an acute aortic dissection (Type A) than the general population. Patients with a bicuspid aortic valve need careful follow-up by their cardiologist for annual echocardiograms and measurements of the ascending aorta either by CT scan or MRI.
Allan Stewart, MD
Director, Aortic Surgery Program
Department of Cardiovascular Surgery
The Mount Sinai Health System
1190 Fifth Ave: Box 1028
Assistant: Debra Segreti