Family Screening for Bicuspid Aortic Valve
The most common congenital heart disorder, bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) affects approximately one to two percent of people. Those with the condition experience impacts to both the aortic valve (which controls the flow of blood into the aorta) and the thoracic aorta (the major vessel that sends blood throughout the body).
Approximately nine percent of BAV patients have relatives with the condition, so family screening is very important. If you have been diagnosed with BAV, the Northwestern Memorial Center for Heart Valve Disease, as well as the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association recommends that your first-degree adult relatives be screened by a health care provider familiar with BAV. Screening results will determine the need for further testing. Relatives who should be screened are parents, siblings and children.
If you have a first-degree relative with BAV, we encourage them to schedule an appointment for an echocardiogram (ECHO). Our team of specialists in the Bicuspid Aortic Valve Program is equipped to help you and your family decide which steps to take next.
Our experts are currently conducting research into the causes of BAV, including possible hereditary links. You and your family members may be eligible to participate in clinical trials that can help further our research. Our Clinical Trials Unit has more information on current BAV-related research.
Pregnancy and BAV
We encourage women with this disease who would like further information regarding pregnancy with BAV to take advantage speak with their health care provider or to contact the Heart Disease and Pregnancy Program.
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