Difference Between Aortic Sclerosis and Aortic Stenosis

Aortic Sclerosis and Aortic Stenosis are conditions related Aorta. Aorta is the main pipe line that starts from the left ventricle to supply the blood to the whole body. The aorta can be thickened and calcified in later ages. This is called sclerosis. Usually the wall of the aorta has some elasticity and this will help to maintain the diastolic pressure. When the wall is thickened and calcified, the elastic nature is lost. To maintain the blood pressure the heart has to work hard. The sclerosis can be at the valvular level of the aorta ( Valvular sclerosis) or after that.

Stenosis means narrowing. The aortic valve can be affected by rheumatic fever and the outflow tract of the aorta may be narrowed. Mild aortic stenosis may not give severe symptoms. But when the narrowing exceeds a level, the blood supply from the aorta is less to the tissue. To increase the amount of blood supply the heart pumps hard. The heart chambers enlarges. Ultimately the heart suffer from low blood (ischemia) and die (heart failure).

Aortic stenosis can be in the aortic wall (not at valvular level). this condition can be congenital (from the birth). When the heart and the tubes formed, the aorta may be small in certain points. If the stenosis is severe, the body will develop parallel vessels to supply the blood to the body (co laterals) so usually this type of stenosis is not a major problem in medicine.

Aortic sclerosis per se can cause stenosis. If both occurs the outcome may be severe. Aortic sclerosis can be associated with atherosclerosis (cholesterol deposition) . In the patient with aortic dissection (the wall is defective) the aneurysm( the ballooning) of of aorta may be formed. This may rupture any-time and endanger the life.

In summary,

• Aortic sclerosis is a condition where the wall/valve of the aorta is thickened and calcified. It may cause aortic stenosis

• Aortic stenosis can be valvular stenosis or wall stenosis.

• Valvular stenosis usually followed by rhematic fever.

• Both condition causes increased work load to heart, with time, it may cause heart failure