Current treatment of symptomatic aortic stenosis in elderly patients: Do risk scores really matter after 80 years of age?

Arch Cardiovasc Dis. 2021 Oct;114(10):624-633. doi: 10.1016/j.acvd.2021.06.011. Epub 2021 Sep 29.


Background: According to the guidelines, surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) is recommended in patients at low surgical risk (EuroSCORE II<4%), whereas for other patients, the decision between transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) and surgery should be made by the Heart Team, with TAVI being favoured in elderly patients.

Aim: The RAC prospective multicentre survey assessed the respective contributions of age and surgical risk scores in therapeutic decision making in elderly patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis.

Methods: In September and October 2016, 1049 consecutive patients aged ≥ 75 years were included in 32 centres with on-site TAVI and surgical facilities. The primary endpoint was the decision between medical management, TAVI or SAVR.

Results: Mean age was 84±5 years and 53% of patients were female. The surgical risk was classified as high (EuroSCORE II>8%) in 18% of patients, intermediate (EuroSCORE II 4-8%) in 34% and low (EuroSCORE II≤4%) in 48%. TAVI was preferred in 71% of patients, SAVR in 19% and medical treatment in 10%. The choice of TAVI over SAVR was associated with older age (P<0.0001) and a higher EuroSCORE II (P=0.008). However, the weight of EuroSCORE II in therapeutic decision making markedly decreased after the age of 80 years. Indeed, 77% of patients aged ≥ 80 years were referred for TAVI, despite a low estimated surgical risk.

Conclusions: The impact of risk scores depends strongly on age, and decreases considerably after 80 years, most patients being referred for TAVI, independent of their estimated surgical risk. Despite medical advancements, 10% of patients were still denied any intervention.

Keywords: Aortic stenosis; Remplacement valvulaire aortique chirurgical; Remplacement valvulaire aortique percutané; Risk assessment; Risque opératoire; Rétrécissement aortique; Surgical aortic valve replacement; Transcatheter aortic valve implantation.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis* / surgery
  • Female
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index