Aortic sclerosis and mitral annulus calcification: a window to vascular atherosclerosis?

Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2013 Jul;11(7):863-77. doi: 10.1586/14779072.2013.811978.


Several similarities exist between atherosclerosis in the vasculature and chronic degenerative changes in valvular structures. It has been suggested that aortic valve sclerosis (AVS) and mitral annulus calcification (MAC) are manifestations of a generalized atherosclerosis, have similar pathogenesis, share common risk factors and are observed with higher prevalence in patients with different forms of atherosclerotic vascular disease. Moreover, recent studies have shown a close relation of MAC and AVS with adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular outcomes. However, many patients with AVS or MAC do not have coexisting peripheral vascular atherosclerosis and vice versa. Lipid-reducing therapy has been uniformly unsuccessful in slowing valvular calcification. Thus, whether valve calcifications are the result of a more generalized atherosclerosis, or reflect a primary degenerative process, progressing with advancing age, still remains. From a clinical point of view, it is of great importance to identify common links between valve calcification and vascular atherosclerosis with a view to assess whether the detection of AVS, MAC or both are indicative of subclinical atherosclerosis and predicts cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events. Thus, in this article, the authors review current evidence regarding the association between AVS and MAC with vascular atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aortic Valve / pathology*
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology*
  • Calcinosis / pathology
  • Heart Valve Diseases / epidemiology
  • Heart Valve Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mitral Valve / pathology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sclerosis