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Saint Thomas Heart

Bicuspid Aortic Valve

Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is an inherited form of heart disease in which two of the leaflets of the aortic valve fuse during development in the womb, resulting in a two-leaflet valve (bicuspid valve) instead of the normal three-leaflet valve(tricuspid valve). With this deformity, the valve doesn’t function perfectly, but it may function adequately for years without causing symptoms or obvious signs of a problem.

Recent studies suggest that bicuspid aortic valve disease is caused by a connective tissue disorder that also causes other circulatory system problems. People with bicuspid aortic valve disease also may have abnormal coronary arteries, aortic aneurysm or an abnormal thoracic aorta (the portion of the aorta that passes through the upper chest) as well as unstable high blood pressure. About 2% of the population has BAVD, and it is twice as common in males as in females.