Objective: To describe a clinicopathologic study of a large group of congenitally bicuspid aortic valves surgically excised at a single institution.
Material and methods: The medical charts and bicuspid valves from patients undergoing aortic valve replacement at Mayo Clinic Rochester between 1991 and 1996 were retrospectively reviewed.
Results: The age of the 542 patients ranged from 1 to 86 years (mean, 61), and 372 (69%) were men. Among these, 409 (75%) had pure aortic stenosis (AS), 73 (13%) had pure aortic insufficiency (regurgitation) (AI), 53 (10%) had combined AS and AI, and 7 (1%) had normal function. The mean age was higher for those with AS than AI (65 versus 46 years; P < 0.001), whereas the male-to-female ratio was higher for AI than AS (17.3:1 versus 1.7:1; P < 0.001). The two cusps were not equal in size in 95%, and a raphe was present in 76% (67% typical, 9% atypical). Raphal position was described in 315 and was between the right and left cusps in 270 (86%). Raphal absence occurred more often in valves with equal-sized cusps than unequal (33% versus 14%; P = 0.005). Moderate to severe calcification affected valves with AS more frequently than AI (99% versus 41%; P < 0.001). In contrast, annular dilatation was associated with AI more than AS (48% versus 11%; P < 0.001). Acquired commissural fusion involved valves with combined AS and AI more often than the other functional states (31% versus 14%; P = 0.002). Sixteen patients (age range, 18 to 78 years; 13 men) had infective endocarditis (6 active, 10 healed), including 10 with AI (9 men), 3 with AS plus AI, 2 with AS, and 1 with normal function but embolization.
Conclusion: Functionally, the most common fate of congenitally bicuspid aortic valves was calcific stenosis with or without regurgitation (85%). Because approximately 4 million US citizens have bicuspid valves and because valve replacement is currently the only treatment of symptomatic AS, this disorder will continue to affect health-care costs.