Bicuspid aortic valve


Bicuspid aortic valve is a congenital heart defect characterized by an aortic valve with two cusps instead of the usual three. This valve, located between the left lower heart chamber and the aorta, regulates blood flow by opening and closing its cusps with each heartbeat. While most individuals have a tricuspid aortic valve, some may be born with a unicuspid valve (one cusp) or quadricuspid valve (four cusps), though these occurrences are rare. The proper functioning of the aortic valve is crucial to ensure blood flows in the correct direction throughout the body.

Changes to the aortic valve can lead to various health issues, which include:

  • Aortic Valve Stenosis: This condition involves the narrowing of the aortic valve, hindering its full opening. As a result, blood flow from the heart to the body becomes reduced or blocked.
  • Aortic Valve Regurgitation: In this situation, the aortic valve fails to close tightly, causing blood to flow backward.
  • Aortopathy: This term refers to an enlarged aorta, which increases the risk of a tear in the aortic lining known as an aortic dissection.

Treatment for a bicuspid aortic valve depends on the severity of heart valve disease. It may include medicines, procedures and surgery.


Severe aortic stenosis or aortic regurgitation resulting from a bicuspid valve can lead to various symptoms. While most individuals with a bicuspid aortic valve may not experience symptoms of heart valve disease until adulthood, some infants may exhibit severe symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Fainting or near fainting


The formation of a bicuspid aortic valve, the most common congenital heart defect present at birth, remains unknown to researchers. This condition develops early in pregnancy and may have a familial tendency, prompting individuals with affected family members to undergo heart tests. While it is not preventable, those diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve planning a pregnancy should consult their healthcare provider to closely monitor their condition and detect any potential issues early on.

Risk factor

Bicuspid aortic valves, which can be hereditary, require consultation with a doctor if a close family member has this heart defect. In such cases, medical professionals may conduct various tests to assess heart structure and function. If diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve and planning a pregnancy, seeking advice from a healthcare provider is essential. Although prevention is not possible, careful monitoring during pregnancy can help detect potential issues early on.