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Bicuspid Aortic Valve

Open BAV

The opening of a BAV resembles the open mouth of a fish, leading to the term “fish mouth” valve.
BAV and the Aorta - Coarctation Aortic coarctation means that a section of the aorta is narrow, usually the part of the descending aorta just past the arch. Some with BAV have this congenital aortic condition. It is often found and treated in the early years of life. It is possible to reach adulthood without obvious symptoms, because other blood vessels take over some of the blood flow that would normally go through the aorta (collateral circulation).  However, because blood is trying to flow through a narrow opening, pressure may still build up. This increased pressure in the ascending aorta and its branches to the brain may cause a break in a fragile vessel in the brain, resulting in bleeding and stroke. The heart muscle (left ventricle) may also thicken as it pumps against the resistance due to the narrowed aorta, and could potentially cause diastolic dysfunction or heart failure. Surgery should be planned before complications such as these happen.  
Bicuspid Aortic Valve

Closed BAV

When closed, it may be difficult to distinguish a BAV from an aortic valve with all three leaflets.
Tricuspid Aortic Valve

Closed TAV

A normal aortic valve has three leaflets or cusps. Pictured here is a TAV with the leaflets closed.  The opening of a TAV is shaped like a triangle.
Aortic Aneurysm

The aorta in those from BAV families may be enlarged and balloon out, which is called an aneurysm.
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