“Which Family Members Are At Risk for Bicuspid Aortic Valves?” asks Donna
Written By: Adam Pick, Patient Advocate, Author & Website Founder
Page last updated: January 26, 2022
I just received a fantastic question about the genetics specific to bicuspid aortic valves (BAV).
In her email, Donna asks, “Adam – I had a BAV and aneurysm replacement surgery 9 and 1/2 years ago. My question after watching the Advances in Aortic Valve & Aneurysm Surgery Webinar is, ‘Which family members could also be at risk?’ I have no knowledge of family members that had this issue. But, what about my children or grandchildren?”
Donna asks a great question about the screening of relatives for bicuspid aortic valves and aneurysms. As we have learned together, these cardiac conditions can be quite insidious and life-threatening at the same time.
First Degree Relatives Need To Get Screened!
According to the American Heart Association and Lurie’s Children Hospital, a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is a congenital abnormality of the aortic valve that is hereditary in nature. If someone in your family has BAV, there is an approximately 1 in 10 chance someone else in the family may have this valve disorder which can cause aortic stenosis and/or aortic regurgitation.
Specific to Donna’s question about who should be tested, the American Heart Association and Lurie’s Children Hospital recommends that all first-degree relatives — parents and siblings — of a person diagnosed with BAV should be screened. If diagnosed early, BAV can be managed prior to causing symptoms or complications.
It’s important to note that many individuals with BAV do not experience symptoms until they begin to have complications. That said, a screening echocardiogram is recommended since early diagnosis is key to preventing complications.
- Free eBook: Advances in Aortic Valve & Aneurysm Surgery
- Research Alert: 4D-Flow MRI for Predicting Aneurysms
- Bicuspid Aortic Valves: What Should You Know?
Keep on tickin!