Subaortic stenosis is an obstruction or narrowing at the outlet of the lower left chamber of the heart (the left ventricle), just below the aortic valve. In typical subaortic stenosis, the aortic valve itself is normal.
The normal heart has four chambers: two upper chambers called atria, which receive blood into the heart, and two lower chambers called ventricles, which pump blood out of the heart. Ordinarily, unoxygenated (blue) blood comes back from the body into the right atrium, moves into the right ventricle, and then is pumped out of the right ventricle through the pulmonary artery (the main artery to the lungs) to collect more oxygen. The now-oxygenated (red) blood returns from the lungs and enters the left atrium, moves into the left ventricle, and then is pumped through the left ventricle's outflow tract to the aortic valve and out to the body through the aorta (the body’s main artery).
In a heart with subaortic stenosis, it is difficult for the left ventricle to pump the blood to the body due to the narrowed area in the outflow tract below the aortic valve.
Subaortic stenosis can cause two main problems for the heart:
There are two kinds of subaortic stenosis:
The causes of heart defects such as subaortic stenosis among most babies are unknown. Some babies have heart defects because of changes in their genes or chromosomes. A combination of environmental exposures and genetic factors are likely responsible, but little is known about the specific cause.
When the narrowing is severe, symptoms such as lethargy, lack of appetite and difficulty breathing may signal an obstruction in infants. Rarely, fainting or chest pain also may occur.
The following tests may be utilized to find more details:
The subaortic stenosis is repaired by opening the aorta just above the aortic valve. The subaortic membrane can be seen through the valve. The membrane can then be cut out, leaving the left ventricle's outflow tract open and smooth. This operation is called a subaortic resection.
It is uncommon to have major complications after a subaortic resection. It is possible to have a leftover membrane, though it is extremely unusual for that to cause any remaining obstruction. Other very uncommon complications include damage to the aortic valve itself, heart block (which is a problem with the electrical conduction of the heart), or creating a hole between the two pumping chambers (ventricular septal defect). Most patients who undergo a subaortic resection are able to be discharged with 3-4 days after surgery.
Surgery for subaortic stenosis typically has a high degree of success, and full recovery is usually expected unless there are initial complications. Subaortic stenosis may return a few years after effective surgery.
Children should have regular checkups with their pediatric cardiologist. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics before any dental or other surgery.
At Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, patients with congenital or acquired heart disorders receive hands-on specialized care 24/7 from a team of affiliated physicians and specialty-trained nurses who aim to deliver the best possible outcomes.
Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital was named one of the top 50 best children's hospitals nationally in Cardiology & Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report, and Children’s Heart Institute earned the distinguished three-star rating from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for patient care and outcomes in congenital heart surgery. As one of only 12 three-star programs, Children’s Heart Institute ranks among the elite in the United States and Canada for congenital heart surgery.
In collaboration with various subspecialties, the affiliated team provides comprehensive care for newborns, children and adolescents, with the ability to transition into adult congenital cardiac care. Team members have the experience and skills necessary to offer innovative treatment methods and specialized services, including, but not limited to:
With the Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and a dedicated Children’s Heart Institute Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, critical heart patients have access to quality, specialized care. By utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, the team at Children’s Heart Institute strives to offer patients with the most complex problems the greatest opportunity for a normal life.
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The Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is affiliated with the physicians at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and the UT Physicians Pediatric Outpatient Clinics across Greater Houston. Affiliated physicians evaluate patients at UT Physicians clinic locations and perform all inpatient procedures and treatments at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.