Hemodynamic assessment of patients with low-flow, low-gradient valvular aortic stenosis

Am J Cardiol. 1996 Sep 15;78(6):657-61. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(96)00389-0.


In aortic stenosis (AS), conventional indexes of severity vary with changes in transvalvular flow. It is important to determine the true severity of obstruction because AS in the presence of low cardiac output and low gradient is associated with high mortality during aortic valve replacement. This study compares 3 indexes of stenosis severity at different transvalvular flow rates in patients with low-flow, low-gradient critical AS. Eight patients with critical AS (valve area < or = 0.7 cm2), low cardiac output (< 4.0 L/min), and low mean transvalvular gradient (< or = 40 mm Hg) underwent hemodynamic assessment at baseline, after transvalvular flow was augmented with dobutamine, and after the valve opening was increased with percutaneous balloon aortic valvuloplasty. Severity of obstruction was assessed using 3 different measures: Gorlin formula calculated valve area, valvular resistance, and percentage left ventricular stroke work loss. Dobutamine infusion increased cardiac output by 35% and mean transvalvular gradient by 27%. The mean Gorlin formula calculated aortic valve area increased from 0.5 to 0.6 cm2 (p = 0.002). Percentage left ventricular stroke work loss increased from 23% to 28% (p = 0.03). Valve resistance was unchanged by dobutamine (350 to 310 dynes X sec X cm(-5); p = NS). Balloon valvuloplasty increased cardiac output 13% and decreased the gradient 31%; this resulted in an increase in the calculated valve area from 0.6 to 0.9 cm2 (p = 0.001). Percentage left ventricular stroke work loss decreased from 28% to 20% (p = 0.002), and valve resistance decreased from 310 to 181 dynes X sec X cm(-5) (p = 0.001) after valvuloplasty. We conclude that in patients with low-flow, low-gradient critical AS, valve resistance is the most flow-independent measure of severity of stenosis. All measures improve with percutaneous balloon aortic valvuloplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / physiopathology*
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / therapy
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Catheterization
  • Dobutamine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Dobutamine