‘Fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pain? It may be aortic stenosis’
If you are over 70 and feel fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and occasionally fainting, know that “it may not be simply aging, but those might be symptoms of aortic valve disease”, explained Rui Campante Teles, Hospital da Luz Lisboa cardiologist, in the TV show “Edição da Manhã at SIC Notícias Channel, on May 4, in the scope of the campaign “Corações de Amanhã”, he is the national coordinator of.
This is an initiative developed by the Portuguese Association of Cardiovascular Intervention, a non-profit organization that views to sensitize the population for that disease.
Aortic stenosis consists in the narrowing of the aortic valve, impeding the adequate flow of blood out of the heart. Its symptoms tend to be underestimated, which can be fatal. “This is a disease affecting over 30 thousand people in Portugal, mostly over 70 years of age. In their 80s, one in ten individuals suffers from serious aortic stenosis. These patients cannot perform simple tasks, such as tying shoes, going up stairs, making the bed or go shopping. In these circumstances, people must see their family doctor promptly”, clarified Rui Teles.
An echography to the heart is “the essential exam” to diagnose the disease and surgery or catheterization are the possible treatments. “People believe that at this age surgery is no longer justified, but for us, surgeons, today, age is not a limitation in terms of treatment”, added the cardiologist.
In the scope of the campaign “Corações de Amanhã” (Hearts for the Future) (www.coracoesdeamanha.pt), an initiative under the high patronage of the President of the Republic, the Portuguese Association of Cardiovascular Intervention is organizing during the month of May a series of sessions on aortic stenosis, in senior universities all over the country.