How is bicuspid aortic valve disease diagnosed?

Individuals experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath typically begin with their family doctor, who will perform a physical examination that includes listening to the person's heart. When the patient’s symptoms and the sounds heard on the cardiac exam raise the suspicion of bicuspid aortic valve disease, the patient needs to be referred to a specialist in valvular heart disease.

At Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute, specialists use echocardiography (heart ultrasound), transesophageal echocardiography (an up-close heart ultrasound performed through the esophagus), CT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the heart to evaluate the heart, valves and aorta.

Other tests such as an electrocardiogram (to test the heart’s electrical activity) or coronary angiography (an X-ray of the heart's blood vessels using a special dye) can help diagnose other problems with the heart and arteries that may be associated with bicuspid aortic valve disease. Cleveland Clinic specialists also evaluate patients with BAVD for aneurysms, coronary artery disease and heart rhythm disorders.

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