Aortic valve calcification volumes and chronic brain infarctions in patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve implantation

Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2019 Nov;35(11):2123-2133. doi: 10.1007/s10554-019-01663-0. Epub 2019 Jul 16.


Chronic silent brain infarctions, detected as new white matter hyperintensities on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) following transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), are associated with long-term cognitive deterioration. This is the first study to investigate to which extent the calcification volume of the native aortic valve (AV) measured with cardiac computed tomography angiography (CTA) predicts the increase in chronic white matter hyperintensity volume after TAVI. A total of 36 patients (79 ± 5 years, median EuroSCORE II 1.9%, Q1-Q3 1.5-3.4%) with severe AV stenosis underwent fluid attenuation inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI < 24 h prior to TAVI and at 3 months follow-up for assessment of cerebral white matter hyperintensity volume (mL). Calcification volumes (mm3) of the AV, aortic arch, landing zone and left ventricle were measured on the CTA pre-TAVI. The largest calcification volumes were found in the AV (median 692 mm3) and aortic arch (median 633 mm3), with a large variation between patients (Q1-Q3 482-1297 mm3 and 213-1727 mm3, respectively). The white matter hyperintensity volume increased in 72% of the patients. In these patients the median volume increase was of 1.1 mL (Q1-Q3 0.3-4.6 mL), corresponding with a 27% increase from baseline (Q1-Q3 7-104%). The calcification volume in the AV predicted the increase of white matter hyperintensity volume (Δ%), with a 35% increase of white matter hyperintensity volume, per 100 mm3 of AV calcification volume (SE 8.5, p < 0.001). The calcification volumes in the aortic arch, landing zone and left ventricle were not associated with the increase in white matter hyperintensity volume. In 72% of the patients new chronic white matter hyperintensities developed 3 months after TAVI, with a median increase of 27%. A higher calcification volume in the AV was associated with a larger increase in the white matter hyperintensity volume. These findings show the potential for automated AV calcium screening as an imaging biomarker to predict chronic silent brain infarctions.

Keywords: Cerebral embolizations; Silent brain infarctions; Transcatheter aortic valve implantation; Transcatheter aortic valve replacement; White matter hyperintensities.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / complications
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / surgery*
  • Asymptomatic Diseases
  • Cerebral Infarction / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Infarction / etiology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Computed Tomography Angiography
  • Coronary Angiography / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukoencephalopathies / diagnostic imaging
  • Leukoencephalopathies / etiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome