I am running in the 2012 NYC Marathon with Team Ritter to raise awareness about aortic aneurysms and their consequences.
I had a bicuspid aortic valve and ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm diagnosed by accident, before rupture or dissection, in 2009, and had repair in 2009. I would have very likely died suddenly and unexpectedly within 5 or so years if I had not been treated. My sons lost their mother to breast cancer when they were very young. I'm happy to still be here! And with repair, life goes on pretty much normal.
A bicuspid aortic valve is present in 1-2% of live births, as a congenital abnormality, and the valve causes disease or death in about 30% of those who have it. All other congenital heart defects combined occur in 0.8% of live births.The book could be called "The Biscupid Valve Next Door".
Not all ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms are caused by bicuspid aortic valves. Many or most of these aneurysms do have a gentic link. Unfortunately most are without symptoms for years. There are some with bicuspid aortic valve who have labile hypertension, with associated symptoms.
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