Natural history of early aortic paraprosthetic regurgitation: a five-year follow-up

Am Heart J. 1999 Aug;138(2 Pt 1):351-7. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8703(99)70124-9.


Objectives: To assess the incidence and natural course of paravalvular leaks detected early after aortic valve replacement.

Background: Although the use of echocardiography has simplified the postoperative assessment of patients with aortic valve replacement, there are no data regarding the natural history of early detected paravalvular aortic leaks.

Methods: Eighty-four consecutive patients with aortic valve replacement were prospectively followed clinically every 6 months and by echocardiography early (11 +/- 7 days), at midterm (27 +/- 3 months), and late (63 +/- 4 months) after aortic valve replacement. The competence of artificial valves was assessed by Doppler color flow mapping.

Results: Paraprosthetic leaks were detected in 40 (47.6%) aortic prostheses during the early study; the majority (90%) were small. All leaks remained unchanged during the follow-up period. Left ventricular dimensions and function did not differ between patients with or without paravalvular leak during the follow-up. Left ventricular fractional shortening, however, increased during the intermediate study in both subgroups, indicating improved left ventricular function overall. Three patients had severe paravalvular regurgitation suddenly develop from late infective endocarditis, and 1 patient had a degenerative tissue valve failure 4 years after implantation.

Conclusions: Paraprosthetic aortic leaks detected early after surgery, in the absence of valve infection, are common, are usually small, and have a benign course. However, the development of new, usually severe, regurgitation should raise the suspicion of prosthetic valve endocarditis or bioprosthetic valve failure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Valve Diseases / surgery
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler