Background: Clinicians often encounter patients with apparently discordant echocardiographic findings, severe aortic stenosis (SAS) defined by aortic valve area (AVA) despite a low mean gradient. A new classification according to flow state and pressure gradient has been proposed. We sought to assess the prevalence, characteristics and outcomes of patients with asymptomatic SAS with preserved left-ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) according to flow and gradient.
Methods and results: In total 442 patients with SAS (AVAi<0.6 cm2/m2) and LVEF ≥50% (mean age 80+11years, 54,5% female) were included. Patients were classified according to flow state (≥ or <35ml/m2) and mean pressure gradient (≥ or <40mmHg): Low Flow/Low Gradient (LF/LG): 21.3%(n=94); Normal Flow/Low Gradient (NF/LG): 32.1%(n=142); Low Flow/High Gradient (LF/HG): 6.8%(n=30); Normal Flow/High Gradient (NF/HG): 39,8%(n=176). Mean follow-up time was 20.5months (SD=10.3). Primary combined endpoint was cardiovascular mortality and hospital admission for SAS related symptom, secondary endpoint was aortic valve replacement (AVR), comparing HG group to LF/LG group. During follow-up 17 (18%) of LF/LG patients and 21 (10.2%) of HG patients met the primary endpoint. A lower free of event survival (cardiovascular mortality and hospital admission) was observed in patients with LF/LG AS (Breslow, p=0.002). Significant differences were noted between groups with a lower AVR free survival in the LF/LG group compared to HG groups (Breslow, p=0.002).
Conclusions: Our study confirms the high prevalence and worse prognosis of LF/LG SAS. Clinicians must be aware of this entity to ensure appropriate patient management.
Keywords: Echocardiography; Low flow/low gradient; Preserved left ventricular ejection fraction; Severe aortic stenosis.
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