Background: Reduced ejection fraction (EF) in chronic moderate aortic regurgitation (AR) could be either due to a late remodelling response after longstanding moderate AR, or could represent a specific phenotype of cardiomyopathy (CMP) with concomitant AR. The aim of this study was to analyse progression of left ventricular (LV) impairment in moderate AR. Methods: All patients in our echocardiography database between 2005 and 2016 were screened to identify pure chronic moderate AR, excluding significant coronary artery disease (CAD) or concomitant valve disease. Remaining 152 patients were divided into three groups: (a) preserved systolic LV function; (b) reduced LV EF and prediagnosed concomitant cardiomyopathy (CMP); (c) reduced LV EF without prediagnosed CMP. Results: The majority patients (group A = 66%) had preserved systolic LV function, remaining oligosymptomatic with stable LVEDD at follow-up. Non-CMP patients with reduced EF at baseline (group C = 18%) were significantly older (group C: 74 vs. group A: 61 years, p < .001) whereas left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (LVEDD) significantly increased over time (p = .046). Development of renal insufficiency, atrial fibrillation and NYHA > II were significant risk factors linked to the worsening of LV function in patients with moderate AR. Conclusion: Preserved LV EF and LVEDD remain stable over a long lasting period in the majority of patients. However, these data suggest that some patients develop reduced LV EF, even without progression of AR to severe, especially if renal insufficiency or atrial fibrillation are present.
Keywords: Moderate aortic regurgitation; aortic valve replacement; cardiomyopathy; impaired left ventricular function.