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      Aortic Valve Stenosis: Fatal Natural History despite Normal Left Ventricular Function and Low Invasive Peak-to-Peak Pressure Gradients

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          For many years, the severity of valvular aortic stenosis (AS) was evaluated mainly on the basis of cardiac catheterization. In many centers, the handy peak-to-peak transvalvular pressure difference or ‘peak-to-peak gradient’ in relation to left ventricular function was used as a crucial feature in taking a decision regarding valve substitution. In a prospective study during the period 1994–1997, 150 consecutive patients with AS were examined systematically using cardiac catherization as well as transthoracic (TTE) and transesophageal echocardiography. The study was performed in order to compare the diagnostic accuracy and reproducibility of the three modalities with the purpose of improving our evaluation strategy. We found that the three methods were able to determine the aortic valve area with similar accuracy and reproducibility. The data thus support earlier papers and the currently recommended strategy of managing most patients on the basis of TTE since this approach is more rapid and gentle to the patients. In accordance with the past policy of our department, however, considerable weight was put on the invasive data during the study period. Thus, 12 patients with invasive peak-to-peak gradient <50 mm Hg and no severe depression of left ventricular function were not offered valve replacement, despite symptoms and significant valve area reductions. At 2.5 years of follow-up, 6 had died, 3 of severe heart failure, 2 while awaiting scheduled valve replacement, and 1 during aortocoronary bypass surgery. Another 3 patients later experienced further symptom progression and underwent successful aortic valve replacement. In the remaining 3 patients, all free from coronary stenoses and other valvular heart disease than AS, heart failure symptoms had worsened considerably during continued medical therapy. In conclusion, we do not recommend consideration of the peak-to-peak gradient in the process of deciding whether or not AS patients should receive valve replacement. A low peak-to-peak gradient does not exclude severe AS, even in the presence of preserved left ventricular function.

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          Reproducibility of echocardiographic estimates of the area of stenosed aortic valves using the continuity equation


            Author and article information

            S. Karger AG
            September 2004
            29 September 2004
            : 102
            : 3
            : 147-151
            aDepartment of Cardiology B, University Hospital of Aarhus, Skejby Sygehus, Aarhus N, bDepartment of Internal Medicine and Cardiology A, University Hospital of Aarhus, Aarhus Amtssygehus, Aarhus C, Denmark
            80482 Cardiology 2004;102:147–151
            © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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            Figures: 1, Tables: 1, References: 20, Pages: 5
            General Cardiology


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