ABSTRACT: An important proportion of patients with aortic stenosis (AS) have a 'low-gradient' AS, i.e. a small aortic valve area (AVA <1.0 cm(2)) consistent with severe AS but a low mean transvalvular gradient (<40 mmHg) consistent with non-severe AS. The management of this subset of patients is particularly challenging because the AVA-gradient discrepancy raises uncertainty about the actual stenosis severity and thus about the indication for aortic valve replacement (AVR) if the patient has symptoms and/or left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction. The most frequent cause of low-gradient (LG) AS is the presence of a low LV outflow state, which may occur with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), i.e. classical low-flow, low-gradient (LF-LG), or preserved LVEF, i.e. paradoxical LF-LG. Furthermore, a substantial proportion of patients with AS may have a normal-flow, low-gradient (NF-LG) AS: i.e. a small AVA-low-gradient combination but with a normal flow. One of the most important clinical challenges in these three categories of patients with LG AS (classical LF-LG, paradoxical LF-LG, and NF-LG) is to differentiate a true-severe AS that generally benefits from AVR vs. a pseudo-severe AS that should be managed conservatively. A low-dose dobutamine stress echocardiography may be used for this purpose in patients with classical LF-LG AS, whereas aortic valve calcium scoring by multi-detector computed tomography is the preferred modality in those with paradoxical LF-LG or NF-LG AS. Although patients with LF-LG severe AS have worse outcomes than those with high-gradient AS following AVR, they nonetheless display an important survival benefit with this intervention. Some studies suggest that transcatheter AVR may be superior to surgical AVR in patients with LF-LG AS.
Project description:Impaired left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction is a common finding in patients with aortic stenosis and serves as a predictor of morbidity and mortality after transcatheter aortic valve replacement. However, conflicting data on the most accurate measure for LV function exist. We wanted to examine the impact of LV ejection fraction, mean pressure gradient, and stroke volume index on the outcome of patients treated by transcatheter aortic valve replacement.Patients treated by transcatheter aortic valve replacement were primarily separated into normal flow (NF; stroke volume index >35 mL/m2) and low flow (LF; stroke volume index ?35 mL/m2). Afterwards, patients were divided into 5 groups: "NF-high gradient," "NF-low gradient" (NF-LG), "LF-high gradient," "paradoxical LF-LG," and "classic LF-LG." The 3-year mortality was the primary end point. Of 1600 patients, 789 (49.3%) were diagnosed as having LF, which was characterized by a higher 30-day (P=0.041) and 3-year (P<0.001) mortality. LF was an independent predictor of all-cause (hazard ratio, 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.62; P=0.03) and cardiovascular (hazard ratio, 1.37; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.77; P=0.016) mortality. Neither mean pressure gradient nor LV ejection fraction was an independent predictor of mortality. Patients with paradoxical LF-LG (35.0%), classic LF-LG (35.1%) and LF-high gradient (38.1%) had higher all-cause mortality at 3 years compared with NF-high gradient (24.8%) and NF-LG (27.9%) (P=0.001). However, surviving patients showed a similar improvement in symptoms regardless of aortic stenosis entity.LF is a common finding within the aortic stenosis population and, in contrast to LV ejection fraction or mean pressure gradient, an independent predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Despite increased long-term mortality, high procedural success and excellent functional improvement support transcatheter aortic valve replacement in patients with LF severe aortic stenosis.
Project description:The survival benefits of aortic valve replacement (AVR) in the different flow-gradient states of severe aortic stenosis (AS) is not known. A comprehensive search in PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library, CNKI and OpenGrey were conducted to identify studies that investigated the prognosis of severe AS (effective orifice area ?1.0?cm2) and left ventricular ejection fraction ?50%. Severe AS was stratified by mean pressure gradient [threshold of 40?mmHg; high-gradient (HG) and low-gradient (LG)] and stroke volume index [threshold of 35?ml/m2; normal-flow (NL) and low-flow (LF)]. Network meta-analysis was conducted to assess all-cause mortality among each AS sub-type with rate ratio (RR) reported. The effects of AVR on prognosis were examined using network meta-regression. In the pooled analysis (15 studies and 9,737 patients), LF states (both HG and LG) were associated with increased mortality rate (LFLG: RR 1.88; 95% CI: 1.43-2.46; LFHG: RR: 1.77; 95% CI: 1.16-2.70) compared to moderate AS; and NF states in both HG and LG had similar prognosis as moderate AS (NFLG: RR 1.11; 95% CI: 0.81-1.53; NFHG: RR 1.16; 95% CI: 0.82-1.64). AVR conferred different survival benefits: it was most effective in NFHG (RR with AVR /RR without AVR : 0.43; 95% CI: 0.22-0.82) and least in LFLG (RR with AVR /RR without AVR : 1.19; 95% CI: 0.74-1.94).
Project description:Among patients with severe aortic stenosis (AS) and preserved ejection fraction, those with low gradient (LG) and reduced stroke volume may have an adverse prognosis. We investigated the prognostic impact of stroke volume using the recently proposed flow-gradient classification.We examined 1704 consecutive patients with severe AS (aortic valve area <1.0 cm(2)) and preserved ejection fraction (?50%) using 2-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography. Patients were stratified by stroke volume index (<35 mL/m(2) [low flow, LF] versus ?35 mL/m(2) [normal flow, NF]) and aortic gradient (<40 mm?Hg [LG] versus ?40 mm?Hg [high gradient, HG]) into 4 groups: NF/HG, NF/LG, LF/HG, and LF/LG. NF/LG (n=352, 21%), was associated with favorable survival with medical management (2-year estimate, 82% versus 67% in NF/HG; P<0.0001). LF/LG severe AS (n=53, 3%) was characterized by lower ejection fraction, more prevalent atrial fibrillation and heart failure, reduced arterial compliance, and reduced survival (2-year estimate, 60% versus 82% in NF/HG; P<0.001). In multivariable analysis, the LF/LG pattern was the strongest predictor of mortality (hazard ratio, 3.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.71-6.22; P<0.001 versus NF/LG). Aortic valve replacement was associated with a 69% mortality reduction (hazard ratio, 0.31; 95% confidence interval, 0.25-0.39; P<0.0001) in LF/LG and NF/HG, with no survival benefit associated with aortic valve replacement in NF/LG and LF/HG.NF/LG severe AS with preserved ejection fraction exhibits favorable survival with medical management, and the impact of aortic valve replacement on survival was neutral. LF/LG severe AS is characterized by a high prevalence of atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and reduced survival, and aortic valve replacement was associated with improved survival. These findings have implications for the evaluation and subsequent management of AS severity.
Project description:AIMS:We reported that patients with small aortic valve area (AVA) and low flow despite preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), i.e. 'paradoxical' low flow (PLF), have worse outcomes compared with patients with normal flow (NF), although they generally have a lower mean gradient (MG). The aortic valve weight (AVW) excised at the time of valve replacement is a flow-independent marker of stenosis severity. The objective of this study was to compare the AVW of patients with PLF and MG<40 mmHg with the AVW of patients with NF and MG?40 mmHg. METHODS AND RESULTS:We recruited 250 consecutive patients undergoing valve replacement (Cohort A) for severe stenosis. Among them, 33 (13%) were in PLF [LVEF > 50% but stroke volume index (SVi) ? 35 mL/m(2)] with MG < 40 mmHg (PLF-LG group) and 105 (42%) were in NF (LVEF > 50% and SVi > 35 mL/m(2)) with MG ? 40 mmHg (NF-HG group). Despite a much lower MG (29 ± 7 vs. 53 ± 10 mmHg; P < 0.0001), patients in the PLF-LG group had a similar AVA (0.73 ± 0.12 vs. 0.69 ± 0.13; P = 0.19) compared with those in the NF-HG group. The AVW [median (interquartile): 1.90 (1.63-2.50) vs. 2.60 (1.66-3.32)] and prevalence of bicuspid phenotype (15 vs. 42%) were lower in the PLF-LG group than in the NF-HG group. However, AVWs analysed separately in the tricuspid and bicuspid valves were similar in both groups [tricuspid valves: 1.80 (1.63-2.50) vs. 2.30 (1.58-3.00) g; P = 0.26 and bicuspid valves: 2.72 (1.73-3.61) vs. 2.60 (2.10-3.55) g; P = 0.93]. When using cut-point values of AVW established in another series of non-consecutive patients (n = 150, Cohort B) with NF and concordant Doppler-echocardiographic findings, we found that the percentage of patients with evidence of severe stenosis in Cohort A was 70% in patients with PLF-LG and 86% in patients with NF-HG. CONCLUSION:The aortic valve weight data reported in this study provide evidence that a large proportion of patients with PLF and low-gradient have a severe stenosis and that the gradient may substantially underestimate stenosis severity in these patients. A multi-parametric approach including all Doppler-echocardiographic parameters of valve function as well as other complementary diagnostic tests may help correctly identify these patients.
Project description:To assess left-ventricular strain parameters before and after transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) by feature tracking cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (FT CMR) and to correlate the findings to hemodynamic state and left-ventricular remodeling.Patients with symptomatic AS underwent FT CMR before and after TAVR. Patients were carefully evaluated by a comprehensive work-up including CMR, echocardiography and left and right heart catheterization. Thirty patients formed the study population. High-flow/high-gradient (HF/HG) aortic stenosis was diagnosed in 11 patients (36.7%), 6 patients (20.0%) exhibited low-flow/low-gradient AS (LF/LG) and 13 patients (43.3%) were classified to have so-called paradoxical low-flow/low-gradient (PLF/LG) AS. The HF/HG patients had a significantly reduced longitudinal strain which recovered after TAVR (-12.67 ± 4.60 to -15.46 ± 5.61%, p = 0.048). In the LF/LG group, an even more pronounced reduction of longitudinal strain and also an impairment of longitudinal velocity could be observed. Both parameters improved after therapy (strain: -5.06 ± 4.25 to -8.02 ± 3.28%, p = 0.045; velocity: 25.33 ± 9.63 to 37.13 ± 11.64 mm/s, p = 0.042). Patients with PLF/LG showed preserved longitudinal strain but a reduction of longitudinal velocity similar to the LF/LG group. These patients did not show a significant improvement of strain parameters after TAVR. Longitudinal velocity exhibited the highest predictive power for the identification of a low-flow state (sensitivity 75%, specificity 80%).Improvement of longitudinal strain parameters after TAVR is dependent on the initial hemodynamically defined AS subgroup.
Project description:Background Data are scarce on the role of aortic valve area (AVA) to identify those patients with asymptomatic severe aortic stenosis (AS) who are at high risk of adverse events. We sought to explore the prognostic impact of AVA in asymptomatic patients with severe AS in a large observational database. Methods and Results Among 3815 consecutive patients with severe AS enrolled in the CURRENT AS (Contemporary Outcomes After Surgery and Medical Treatment in Patients With Severe Aortic Stenosis) registry, the present study included 1309 conservatively managed asymptomatic patients with left ventricular ejection fraction ≥50%. The study patients were subdivided into 3 groups based on AVA (group 1: AVA >0.80 cm2, N=645; group 2: 0.8 cm2 ≥AVA >0.6 cm2, N=465; and group 3: AVA ≤0.6 cm2, N=199). The prevalence of very severe AS patients (peak aortic jet velocity ≥5 m/s or mean aortic pressure gradient ≥60 mm Hg) was 2.0%, 5.8%, and 26.1% in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The cumulative 5-year incidence of AVR was not different across the 3 groups (39.7%, 43.7%, and 39.9%; P=0.43). The cumulative 5-year incidence of the primary outcome measure (a composite of aortic valve-related death or heart failure hospitalization) was incrementally higher with decreasing AVA (24.1%, 29.1%, and 48.1%; P<0.001). After adjusting for confounders, the excess risk of group 3 and group 2 relative to group 1 for the primary outcome measure remained significant (hazard ratio, 2.21, 95% CI, 1.56-3.11, P<0.001; and hazard ratio, 1.34, 95% CI, 1.01-1.78, P=0.04, respectively). Conclusions AVA ≤0.6 cm2 would be a useful marker to identify those high-risk patients with asymptomatic severe AS, who might benefit from early AVR. Clinical Trial Registration URL: www.umin.ac.jp . Unique identifier: UMIN000012140.
Project description:Time to peak velocity (TPV) is an echocardiographic variable that can be easily measured and reflects a late peaking murmur, a classic physical finding suggesting severe aortic stenosis (AS). The aim of this study was to investigate the usefulness of TPV to evaluate AS severity.This study included 700 AS patients, whose aortic valve area (AVA) was <1.5 cm2, and 200 control patients. The TPV was defined as the time from aortic valve opening to when the flow velocity across the aortic valve reaches its peak. AS severity was classified as follows: High gradient severe AS, mean pressure gradient ?40 mm Hg and AVA index (AVAI) <0.6 cm2/m2; Low gradient severe AS, mean pressure gradient <40 mm Hg, AVAI <0.6 cm2/m2, and dimensionless index <0.25; moderate AS, mean pressure gradient <40 mm Hg, AVAI ?0.6 cm2/m2. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of TPV to predict high gradient severe AS was 0.94 (95% CI: 0.92-0.97, P<0.001). TPV was significantly delayed in low gradient severe AS compared with moderate AS both in patients with preserved (102±13 ms versus 83±13 ms, P<0.001) and with reduced ejection fraction (110±18 ms versus 88±13 ms, P<0.001). Delayed TPV was associated with increased all-cause mortality or need for aortic valve replacement after adjustment for confounders (hazard ratio for first quartile, reference is fourth quartile: 7.31, 95% CI 4.26-12.53, P<0.001).TPV is useful to evaluate AS severity and predict poor prognosis of AS patients.
Project description:Background Normal-flow, low-gradient severe aortic stenosis (NF-LG-SAS), defined by aortic valve area <1 cm2, mean gradient <40 mm Hg, and indexed stroke volume >35 mL/m2, is the most prevalent form of low-gradient aortic stenosis (AS). However, the true severity of AS and the management of NF-LG-SAS are controversial. The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcome of patients with NF-LG-SAS compared with moderate AS (MAS) and with high-gradient severe-AS (HG-SAS). Methods and Results A total of 154 patients with NF-LG-SAS, 366 with MAS (aortic valve area between 1.0 and 1.3 cm2), and 1055 with HG-SAS were included. On multivariate analysis, after adjustment for covariates of prognostic importance, NF-LG-SAS patients did not exhibit an excess risk of mortality compared with MAS patients under medical management (hazard ratio=1.13 [95% CI, 0.82-1.56]; P=0.45) and under medical and surgical management (hazard ratio 1.06 [95% CI, 0.79-1.43]; P=0.70), even after further adjustment for aortic valve replacement (hazard ratio=1.09 [95% CI, 0.81-1.48]; P=0.56). The 6-year cumulative incidence of aortic valve replacement (performed in accordance with guidelines) was comparable between the 2 groups (39±4% for NF-LG-SAS and 35±3% for MAS, P=0.10). After propensity score matching (n=226), NF-LG-SAS and MAS patients also had comparable outcomes under medical (P=0.41) and under medical and surgical management (P=0.52). NF-LG-SAS had better outcomes than HG-SAS patients (adjusted hazard ratio 1.84 [95% CI, 1.18-2.88]; P<0.001). Conclusions This study shows that patients with NF-LG-SAS have a comparable outcome to those with MAS when aortic valve replacement is performed during follow-up according to guidelines, mostly at the stage of HG-SAS. Rigorous echocardiographic assessment to rule out measurement errors and close follow-up are essential to detect progression to true severe AS in NF-LG-SAS.
Project description:Aortic valve stenosis (AVS) represents a cluster of different phenotypes, considering gradient and flow pattern. Circulating micro RNAs may reflect specific pathophysiological processes and could be useful biomarkers to identify disease. We assessed 80 patients (81, 76.7-84 years; 46, 57.5%females) with severe AVS. We performed bio-humoral evaluation (including circulating miRNA-1, 21, 29, 133) and 2D-echocardiography. Patients were classified according to ACC/AHA groups (D1-D3) and flow-gradient classification, considering normal/low flow, (NF/LF) and normal/high gradient, (NG/HG). Patients with reduced ejection fractionwere characterized by higher levels of miRNA1 (p?=?0.003) and miRNA 133 (p?=?0.03). LF condition was associated with higher levels of miRNA1 (p?=?0.02) and miRNA21 (p?=?0.02). Levels of miRNA21 were increased in patients with reduced Global longitudinal strain (p?=?0.03). LF-HG and LF-LG showed higher levels of miRNA1 expression (p?=?0.005). At one-year follow-up miRNA21 and miRNA29 levels resulted significant independent predictors of reverse remodeling and systolic function increase, respectively. Different phenotypes of AVS may express differential levels and types of miRNAs, which may retain a pathophysiological role in pro-hypertrophic and pro-fibrotic processes.
Project description:Discordance between small aortic valve area (AVA; < 1.0 cm(2)) and low mean pressure gradient (MPG; < 40 mm Hg) affects a third of patients with moderate or severe aortic stenosis (AS). We hypothesized that this is largely due to inaccurate echocardiographic measurements of the left ventricular outflow tract area (LVOTarea) and stroke volume alongside inconsistencies in recommended thresholds.One hundred thirty-three patients with mild to severe AS and 33 control individuals underwent comprehensive echocardiography and cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Stroke volume and LVOTarea were calculated using echocardiography and MRI, and the effects on AVA estimation were assessed. The relationship between AVA and MPG measurements was then modelled with nonlinear regression and consistent thresholds for these parameters calculated. Finally the effect of these modified AVA measurements and novel thresholds on the number of patients with small-area low-gradient AS was investigated.Compared with MRI, echocardiography underestimated LVOTarea (n = 40; -0.7 cm(2); 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.6 to 1.3), stroke volumes (-6.5 mL/m(2); 95% CI, -28.9 to 16.0) and consequently, AVA (-0.23 cm(2); 95% CI, -1.01 to 0.59). Moreover, an AVA of 1.0 cm(2) corresponded to MPG of 24 mm Hg based on echocardiographic measurements and 37 mm Hg after correction with MRI-derived stroke volumes. Based on conventional measures, 56 patients had discordant small-area low-gradient AS. Using MRI-derived stroke volumes and the revised thresholds, a 48% reduction in discordance was observed (n = 29).Echocardiography underestimated LVOTarea, stroke volume, and therefore AVA, compared with MRI. The thresholds based on current guidelines were also inconsistent. In combination, these factors explain > 40% of patients with discordant small-area low-gradient AS.