An individual may develop aortic valve stenosis from a previous infection referred to as rheumatic fever. This is a disease of inflammation that forms following an untreated or inadequately treated infection of scarlet fever or strep throat. Streptococcus bacteria is what causes scarlet fever and strep throat. Rheumatic fever happens when the bacteria that cause these infections trick a patient's immune system into targeting and attacking its own tissues. The most common tissues in the body that rheumatic fever affects are the central nervous system, heart tissues, and joint tissues.
Aortic valve problems that arise from previous rheumatic fever are known to manifest between ten and twenty years following the initial infection. When the individual's immune system attacks the tissues of the aortic valve because of rheumatic fever, the valve's tissues become inflamed and damaged. The body repairs the damaged and inflamed tissues. However, it does so using scar tissue instead of the same kind of tissue originally in the valve. Scar tissue is more dense and fibrous than normal tissue, which causes the valve to become too stiff, or the condition known as aortic stenosis.
Learn more about the causes and risk factors linked to aortic valve stenosis now.