Heistad Lab ∣ The University of Iowa

Research Focus

Our research interests focus on pathophysiology and treatment of aortic valvular stenosis. A major focus of these studies is on the role of oxidative stress and antioxidant mechanisms.

Fibrotic Aortic Valvular Stenosis

Aortic valve stenosis is common and lethal. Replacement of the valve is the only effective treatment for severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis. There is no known effective medical therapy. The ultimate goal of our lab is to understand the pathophysiology of aortic valve stenosis and to develop effective medical treatment.

We have developed the first two experimental models of severe aortic stenosis. One model develops severe calcification, and the other has minimal calcification but with abnormal orientation of collagen in the valve. Patients with aortic stenosis have variable amounts of calcification, and children oftern have minimal calcification. We study these models to identify molecular mechanisms of structural and functional changes.