Early hypo-attenuated leaflet thickening in balloon-expandable transcatheter aortic heart valves

Eur Heart J. 2016 Jul 21;37(28):2263-71. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv526. Epub 2015 Oct 7.


Aims: We sought to evaluate the frequency of early hypo-attenuated leaflet thickening (HALT) of the SAPIEN 3 transcatheter aortic valve (S3).

Methods and results: Of 249 patients who had undergone S3 implantation, we studied 156 consecutive patients (85 women, median age 82.2 ± 5.5 years) by electrocardiogram (ECG)-triggered dual-source computed tomography angiography (CTA) after a median of 5 days post-transcatheter aortic valve implantation. The prosthesis was assessed for HALT. Apart from heparin, peri-interventional antithrombotic therapy consisted of single- (aspirin 29%) or dual- (aspirin plus clopidogrel 71%) antiplatelet therapy. Hypo-attenuated leaflet thickening was found in 16 patients [10.3% (95% confidence interval (CI) 5.5-15.0%)] of the patients. None of the baseline and procedural variables were significantly associated with HALT, nor did we find a significant association with the antithrombotic regimen, either peri-interventionally or at the time of CTA. Hypo-attenuated leaflet thickening was found in 6 of 45 patients with peri-interventional single-antiplatelet therapy and in 10 of 111 patients with dual-antiplatelet therapy at the time of intervention [13.3% (95% CI 3.4-23.3%) vs. 9% (95% CI 3.7-14.3%), P = 0.42]. Hypo-attenuated leaflet thickening was not associated with clinical symptoms, but a small, albeit significant difference in mean pressure gradient at the time of CTA (11.6 ± 3.4 vs. 14.9 ± 5.3 mmHg, P = 0.026). Full anticoagulation led to almost complete resolution of HALT in 13 patients with follow-up CTA.

Conclusion: Irrespective of the antiplatelet regimen, early HALT occurred in 10% of our patients undergoing transcatheter aortic S3 implantation. Early HALT is clinically inapparent and reversible by full anticoagulation.

Keywords: Computed tomography; Leaflet thickening; Sapien 3; TAVI; Transcatheter heart valve.

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Valve
  • Female
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
  • Treatment Outcome