Stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of any opening or
tube shaped passage in the body. Although there are
many different types of stenosis (depending on the
part of the body affected by it), this word is typically
used to describe narrowing of a blood vessel or heart
valve (a structure that temporarily closes a passage
or permits the movement of fluid only in one direction).
Stenosis involving the vascular system can often be
detected by a doctor of other health care provider
listening for unusual blood sounds (e.g., with a
An example of spinal stenosis.
These unusual sounds are caused by disturbed blood flow through the narrowed blood
vessel. A good example is a carotid bruit, which is an abnormal “whooshing” sound of
blood caused by narrowing of the carotid artery. The carotid arteries are located in the
neck and supplies blood to the brain. Stenosis can occur to any artery in the body and
affect any organs that are dependent on blood supply from it.
Another common type of stenosis is spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is an abnormal
narrowing of the spinal canal, which is the space between the spinal cord and the bony
structure that surrounds it. Stenosis is treated by surgical techniques designed to widen
the area. Restenosis is the recurrence of stenosis after such a procedure.
Stenotic means pertaining to stenosis. Stensosis is also known as
a stricture but in this context it is often used to refer to a urethral
stricture (narrowing of the urethra). The urethra is a tube-shaped
structure that drains urine from the body. Another synonym for
stenosis is coarctation but in this context it is typically used to refer
to aortic coarctation (narrowing of the aorta from birth).
The aorta is the largest artery in the body. An artery is a blood
vessel that carries blood away from the heart. Stenosis comes from
the Greek word "stenos" meaning "narrow," and the Greek word
"osis" meaning "condition." Put the words together and you get a