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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.
Not Just Some Day When We’re “Old” Contrary to some perceptions, having a BAV does not simply mean that some day, when you are older, you may need valve surgery. In many people with BAV, it is not just an abnormally shaped aortic valve that may some day, when they are older, need to be repaired or replaced. A broader description is needed to include those who: • require aortic valve treatment in infancy, childhood, or as young adults. • develop an aortic aneurysm • develop an aortic aneurysm after their bicuspid aortic valves have been replaced • experience aortic dissection, usually of their ascending aorta • have mitral valve failure • develop brain aneurysm or experience dissection of head or neck vessels   In addition, some individuals with BAV may develop endocarditis at some point in their lives. The challenge for family members where BAV is found is to understand what it means to each of them individually. The Bicuspid Aortic Foundation continues to hear from those with BAV who were initially told that they would not need surgery until they would reach the age of 60. This has lead to disappointment when problems requiring intervention arose much earlier in life. Having a commitment to regular monitoring and an awareness that BAV and its related complications can be unpredictable are helpful to individuals and families in setting expectations. The good news is there is a great deal that can be done when it is time time for intervention.
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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