Aortic valve replacement should be performed once significant symptoms develop. Lacking important symptoms, operation should also be performed in patients with aortic regurgitation who manifest consistent and reproducible evidence of either LV contractile dysfunction at rest or extreme LV dilation. Noninvasive imaging techniques should play a major role in this evaluation. An important clinical decision, such as recommending aortic valve replacement in the asymptomatic patient, should not be based on a single echocardiographic or radionuclide angiographic measurement alone. When these data consistently indicate impaired contractile function at rest or extreme LV dilation on repeat measurements, however, operation is indicated in the asymptomatic patient. This strategy should reduce the likelihood of irreversible LV dysfunction in these patients and enhance long-term postoperative survival.