Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is associated with ascending aortopathy predisposing to aneurysmal dilatation and dissection, even after successful aortic valve replacement (AVR). There is, however, scant evidence on which to make recommendations for prophylactic replacement of the ascending aorta at the time of AVR. The medical records of patients who underwent AVR for BAV without aortic replacement or repair from 1960 to 1995 were reviewed. Follow-up was by review of the medical record and postal questionnaire. Among 1,286 patients, the mean age at operation was 58 ± 14 years. During the follow-up interval (median 12 years, range 0 to 38), there were 13 documented aortic dissections (1%), 11 ascending aortic replacements (0.9%), and 127 documented cases of progressive aortic enlargement (9.9%). Fifteen-year freedom from aortic dissection, enlargement, or replacement was 89% (95% confidence interval [CI] 87% to 91%) and was lower in patients with documented aortic enlargement at the time of AVR (85%, 95% CI 81% to 89%) compared to those whose aortic dimensions were normal (93%, 95% CI 90% to 96%) (p = 0.001). Multivariate predictors of aortic complications included interval (subsequent) AVR (hazard ratio [HR] 3.5, 95% CI 2.3 to 5.4, p <0.001), concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting (HR 2.6, 95% CI 1.7 to 4.0, p <0.001), enlarged aorta (HR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.6, p = 0.001), and history of tobacco abuse (HR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.6, p = 0.003). Aortic dilatation did not predict mortality. In conclusion, despite a true risk for aortic events after AVR for BAV, the occurrence of aortic dissection was low. Any incremental surgical risk imposed by prophylactic replacement of the ascending aorta must be equally low.
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