Expanding your patients’ understanding of severe aortic stenosis (SAS), also known as heart valve failure

Achieving improved outcomes starts with trust and communication between you and your patient. And using patient-friendly terminology may help them better understand symptoms they may be experiencing and engage during appointments. For instance, using metaphors to clarify or reframe SAS as "heart valve failure" may raise awareness and urgency to discuss their symptoms.

Research has shown that shared decision-making can also positively impact the patient experience. Ensuring that time is allocated to talk through options and goals can help ensure patients feel informed and part of the decision-making process.1

Patients may not recognize or reveal potential signs of aortic stenosis (AS)2

50% graphic visualizing percent of patients diagnosed with moderate or severe AS who do not report symptoms

of patients diagnosed with moderate or severe AS do not report their symptoms3

Up to 38% graphic visualizing percent of patients with SAS who did not initially report symptoms revealed during functional testing

of patients with SAS who did not initially report symptoms revealed symptoms during functional testing4

Due to its insidious nature, the early warnings of AS may not always be recognized by patients or they may be attributed to simply aging.2 If you suspect that any of your patients have AS, probe them about changes in their activities and whether they’re continuing to participate in their hobbies. Uncovering the signs of progression to SAS requires a careful assessment of their medical history, echocardiogram, and changes in activity levels.5

Peer Perspectives:

How I uncover hidden symptoms

“We know that failing to recognize these symptoms for what they actually are can have consequences. Because as time goes on, outcomes worsen.”

Andy Y. Lee, MD
Snapshot of Joy, a real TAVR patient, standing in a train station


Following echocardiography best practices could ensure optimal clinical decision-making for all patients with SAS, regardless of subtype.6


It’s crucial for your patients to understand the progression of SAS and that delays can increase their risks.

References: 1.Coylewright M, O'Neill E, Sherman A, et al. The learning curve for shared decision-making in symptomatic aortic stenosis. JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(4):442-448. 2.Otto CM. Timing of aortic valve surgery. Heart. 2000;84(2):211-218. 3.Lancellotti P, Magne J, Dulgheru R, et al. Outcomes of patients with asymptomatic aortic stenosis followed up in heart valve clinics. JAMA Cardiol. 2018;3(11):1060-1068. 4.Saeed S, Rajani R, Seifert R, Parkin D, Chambers JB. Exercise testing in patients with asymptomatic moderate or severe aortic stenosis. Heart. 2018;104(22):1836-1842. 5.Otto CM, Nishimura RA, Bonow RO, et al. 2020 ACC/AHA guideline for the management of patients with valvular heart disease: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association joint committee on clinical practice guidelines. Circulation. 2021;143(5):e72-e227. 6.Baumgartner H, Hung J, Bermejo J, et al. Recommendations on the echocardiographic assessment of aortic valve stenosis: A focused update from the European association of cardiovascular imaging and the American society of echocardiography. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2017;30(4):372-392. 7.Malaisrie SC, McDonald E, Kruse J, et al. Mortality while waiting for aortic valve replacement. Ann Thorac Surg. 2014;98(5):1564-1571.

Patients and/or clinicians quoted on this website have received compensation from Edwards Lifesciences.