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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 Big Picture in the Body When a bicuspid aortic valve is discovered, a more inclusive definition, listing the major areas of the body possibly affected, is needed. Not everything is understood today, but enough is known to identify trends found in BAV individuals and families: Bicuspid aortic valve (may be tricuspid in other affected blood relatives) Thoracic aortic dilation, aneurysm, or dissection Labile hypertension (high blood pressure which changes quickly with stress or exercise) Mitral valve leakage Coarctation of the aorta Kidney or liver cysts Near-sighted vision Musculoskeletal degenerative changes (scoliosis, degenerative spinal discs, flexible joints, flat feet, etc.) Aneurysm or dissection of smaller arteries, including head vessels (berry aneurysms in brain) Not everyone has all of the listed characteristics. However, those who may have wondered why they also have high/volatile blood pressure, a leaking mitral valve, or poor eye sight, will recognize themselves above. Other family members whose aortic valve appears to have all three leaflets may have some of these characteristics in their body, as they may be genetically similar to their BAV relative in some aspects.
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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