Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) disease is the most common form of congenital (inherited) heart disease, affecting between 0.5 and 2 percent of the population. Normal aortic valves have three “leaflets” or flaps that open symmetrically. A bicuspid valve has only two, or two are fused, causing the valve to open abnormally. Over time the valve can become obstructed (called “stenosis”), or leak (called “regurgitation”).
The condition can also increase the patient’s risk of an enlarged aorta, leading to aneurysms, dissection or rupture.
Screening is recommended for all first-degree relatives (such as parents and siblings) of a person diagnosed with BAV. Early diagnosis can lead to the proper surveillance, management, and improved long-term outcomes.