The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle (the heart’s main pumping chamber) and the aorta (the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the body). With each pump of the heart the valve opens to create a one-way gate. Blood is pumped through the valve to the aorta and then to the rest of the body. In aortic valve stenosis, the leaflets (tissue flaps that close and open over the valve) are prevented from opening, which affects the heart’s ability to pump blood through the body. This may be caused by calcification — or hardening — caused by the aging process, rheumatic fever or an inherited defect.