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Trivia: What Is The Most Common Heart Valve Defect?

Posted by Adam Pick on September 16th, 2011

Time for your heart valve trivia of the day… Here’s the question:

Trivia Question Image

Your multiple choice answers are:

A. Mitral valve prolapse
B. Calcified aortic valve
C. Torn mitral valve chordae
D. Bicuspid aortic valve
E. None of the above

According to Medical News Today, the most common heart valve defect is…

Can you bare the suspense?

I hope you got it right!

Okay. Okay. Enough… Here comes the answer…

(FYI, I had to include the above-few lines so the blog subscribers don’t immediately see the image below when they open the page.)

Medical Drawings Of Bicuspid Aortic Valves

Shown in the picture above, the answer is “D”, a bicuspid aortic valve. Interestingly, it’s not only the most common heart valve defect, it is the common structural heart defect.

The most common heart defect is bicuspid aortic valve (BAV; defect of the aortic valve that results in the formation of two flaps that open and close, instead of the normal three). Because of the high risk of death, the most severe complication from this defect is aortic dissection (a tear involving the layers of the wall of the aorta). — Medical News Today

Other interesting facts about bicuspid aortic valve that might interest you:

  • About 1-2% of the population have a bicuspid aortic valve.
  • About 30% of patients with bicuspid aortic valve experience complications.

To learn more about bicuspid aortic valves — including a special video about bicuspid aortic valve surgery — please click here.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick A dad, a husband and a patient, Adam Pick founded this website in 2006 to educate you about heart valve surgery from diagnosis to recovery.
You can get the latest updates about heart valve surgery from Adam at his Facebook, and Twitter pages. Click here to email him.


Katherine Mierzwa says on September 16th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I’m headed to Cleveland Clinic this next week for heart surgery. I have been told that they believe it is a bicuspid valve. It is severe stenosis. I purchased Adam’s book back in late Spring and it has really helped with the preparation for this surgery.
I also have been told that our kids and sibings should be checked.


Nancy Sander says on September 18th, 2011 at 12:10 am

It’s really interesting about the bicuspid aortic valve. I think it is more common in males. My cardiologist said the condition is rare in girls. I was born with a sort of fused-together aortic valve, which at the age of 22 the surgeon fashioned in to a kind of bicuspid valve. At that time, 1969, there wasn’t much choice in surgical techniques and the lack of using a respirator after the surgery invited pneumonia, which I developed. I was 22 years old.

11 years later I had get the valve replaced as it was worn out. They replaced it with a bjork-shiley pediatric sized valve (because the opening is so small). After a bout with bacterial endocarditis and congestive heart failure 12 years later I had yet a third open heart surgery. This time the compromised and sticking BS valve was replaced with a St. Jude valve, which I still have.

Now I’m faced with mitral valve regurgitation. It was holding steady for awhile but seems to be worsening the last few years. I’m feeling not so great and my cardiologist tells me I would have to get the mitral valve replaced with a full surgical procedure. I’m not so sure I can’t get the minimally invasive robotic surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve. Considering this will be my fourth open-heart, it seems it would be much safer than splitting my sternum again. I’m 65. It seems 70 is the age they get cautious, so I should still be ok to get it done.

Of course, I’ve left out a lot of details on how I’ve gotten through life with all these major interruptions. I’ve manaaged to have two children. I’m currently divorced and practicing law. The last heart surgery in 1992 I was a sophomore in college and then went to law school and moved out to California.


Dale says on March 8th, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Katherine, yes, your family members should get checked out. Nancy, I know that the conventional wisdom used to be that bicuspid valves were more common in men, but I don’t know if that’s still considered to be gospel. I’m a woman, diagnosed with BAV at 59. My great-grand-mother most likely died of it, her mother brother, nephew and niece as well.


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