Risk and fate of cerebral embolism after transfemoral aortic valve implantation: a prospective pilot study with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010 Apr 6;55(14):1427-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2009.12.026. Epub 2010 Feb 24.


Objectives: The aim of this study was prospective investigation of silent and clinically apparent cerebral embolic events and neurological impairment after transfemoral aortic valve implantation (TAVI).

Background: TAVI is a novel therapeutic approach for multimorbid patients with severe aortic stenosis. We investigated peri-interventional cerebral embolism with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) and its relationship to clinical and serologic parameters of brain injury.

Methods: Cerebral DW-MRI was performed before, directly, and 3 months after TAVI with the current third-generation self-expanding CoreValve (Medtronic, Minneapolis, Minnesota) prosthesis. At the timepoints of the serial MRI studies, focal neurological impairment was assessed according to the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), and serum concentration of neuron-specific enolase (NSE), a marker of the volume of brain tissue involved in an ischemic event, were determined.

Results: Thirty patients were enrolled; 22 completed the imaging protocol. Three patients (10%) had new neurological findings after TAVI, of whom only 1 (3.6%) had a permanent neurological impairment. Of the 22 TAVI patients with complete imaging data, 16 (72.7%) had 75 new cerebral lesions after TAVI presumed to be embolic. The NIHSS and NSE were not correlated with DW-MRI lesions.

Conclusions: The incidence of clinically silent peri-interventional cerebral embolic lesions after TAVI is high. However, in this cohort of 30 patients, the incidence of persistent neurological impairment was low. (Incidence and Severity of Silent and Apparent Cerebral Embolism After Conventional and Minimal-invasive Transfemoral Aortic Valve Replacement; NCT00883285).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Valve / surgery*
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / surgery*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Femoral Artery / surgery
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Embolism / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Embolism / etiology*
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00883285