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Aortic stenosis in the elderly
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Aortic stenosis in the elderly

My 88 year old grandmother has worsening aortic stenosis. (began within the last few years) She is independent and still lives alone, still mentally at 99.5%. She does not desire surgical correction.  Recently, she has been having near syncopal episodes--she gets dizzy, short of breath, vision goes to black.  It is often associated with bending over. We have told her to avoid this. (she insists on gardening) She cannot walk very far now without becomming completely out of breath, to the point of near panic.  She looks like she's going to die after she's walked from the handicapped parking place to the restaurant. My question is, is there anything we can do to help her alleviate any of these symptoms without surgery?  What will be the probable progression of this stenosis?  Is it likely that she would suddenly die one day, or will she begin to have problems like congestive heart failure, etc?  Our family just wants to know what we can do to help and what we can expect.  
Thank you for your response,
Lisa
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The classic description of the natural history of aortic stenosis is that with the development of chest pain death usually ensues within 5 years, with heart failure - 3 years, and with fainting - 1 year.  Of course your grandmother may fool us all and live many more years, we just can't predict for any given individual.  It is also hard to predict if she will develop symptoms or not.  There is not a lot that can be done medically - surgery is really the only cure.  Hope this information helps you.  Make the time in your life to enjoy each day with your grandmother.
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