Doppler Underestimates Transvalvular Gradient Measured by Catheterization in Patients With Severe Aortic Stenosis

Am J Cardiol. 2023 May 15;195:28-36. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2023.02.025. Epub 2023 Mar 30.


We sought to clarify characteristics of patients with severe aortic stenosis (AS) in whom transvalvular mean pressure gradient (MPG) was underestimated with Doppler compared with catheterization. Study subjects included 127 patients with severe AS who underwent transcatheter aortic valve implantation. Between subjects with Doppler MPG underestimation ≥10 mm Hg (group U) and those without (group C), we retrospectively compared echocardiographic parameters and aortic valve calcification score using the Agatston method. Despite a strong correlation (rS = 0.88) and small absolute difference (2.1 ± 10.1 mm Hg) between Doppler and catheter MPG, 27 patients (21%) were in group U. Among 48 patients with catheter MPG ≥60 mm Hg, 10 patients (21%) revealed Doppler MPG of 40 to 59 mm Hg, suggesting they had been misclassified as having severe AS instead of very severe AS. According to the guidelines, indication of valve replacement for patients without symptoms should be considered for very severe AS but not for severe AS. Therefore, sole reliance on Doppler MPG could cause clinical misjudgments. Group U had larger relative wall thickness (median [interquartile range: 0.60 [0.50 to 0.69] vs 0.53 [0.46 to 0.60], p = 0.003) and higher calcification score (3,024 [2,066 to 3,555] vs 1,790 [1,293 to 2,501] arbitrary units, p <0.001). Both calcification score (per 100 arbitrary unit increment, odds ratio 1.10, 1.04 to 1.17, p = 0.002) and relative wall thickness (per 0.05 increment, odds ratio 1.29, 95% confidence interval 1.05 to 1.60, p = 0.02) were independently associated with Doppler underestimation. In conclusion, Doppler might underestimate transvalvular gradient compared with catheterization in patients with severe AS who have heavy valve calcification and prominent concentric remodeling left ventricular geometry.

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Valve / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve / surgery
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis* / diagnosis
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis* / surgery
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Echocardiography, Doppler*
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies