Background: Circulatory efficiency reflects the ratio between total left ventricular work and the work required for maintaining cardiovascular circulation. The effect of severe aortic valve stenosis (AS) and aortic valve replacement (AVR) on left ventricular/circulatory mechanical power and efficiency is not yet fully understood. We aimed to quantify left ventricular (LV) efficiency in patients with severe AS before and after surgical AVR.
Methods: Circulatory efficiency was computed from cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging derived volumetric data, echocardiographic and clinical data in patients with severe AS (n = 41) before and 4 months after AVR and in age and sex-matched healthy subjects (n = 10).
Results: In patients with AS circulatory efficiency was significantly decreased compared to healthy subjects (9 ± 3% vs 12 ± 2%; p = 0.004). There were significant negative correlations between circulatory efficiency and LV myocardial mass (r = - 0.591, p < 0.001), myocardial fibrosis volume (r = - 0.427, p = 0.015), end systolic volume (r = - 0.609, p < 0.001) and NT-proBNP (r = - 0.444, p = 0.009) and significant positive correlation between circulatory efficiency and LV ejection fraction (r = 0.704, p < 0.001). After AVR, circulatory efficiency increased significantly in the total cohort (9 ± 3 vs 13 ± 5%; p < 0.001). However, in 10/41 (24%) patients, circulatory efficiency remained below 10% after AVR and, thus, did not restore to normal values. These patients also showed less reduction in myocardial fibrosis volume compared to patients with restored circulatory efficiency after AVR.
Conclusion: In our cohort, circulatory efficiency is reduced in patients with severe AS. In 76% of cases, AVR leads to normalization of circulatory efficiency. However, in 24% of patients, circulatory efficiency remained below normal values even after successful AVR. In these patients also less regression of myocardial fibrosis volume was seen. Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov NCT03172338, June 1, 2017, retrospectively registered.
Keywords: Aortic valve replacement; Aortic valve stenosis; Circulatory efficiency; Heart failure; Hemodynamics; Remodeling.