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Concept: Aortic valve stenosis


Background Previous trials have shown that among high-risk patients with aortic stenosis, survival rates are similar with transcatheter aortic-valve replacement (TAVR) and surgical aortic-valve replacement. We evaluated the two procedures in a randomized trial involving intermediate-risk patients. Methods We randomly assigned 2032 intermediate-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis, at 57 centers, to undergo either TAVR or surgical replacement. The primary end point was death from any cause or disabling stroke at 2 years. The primary hypothesis was that TAVR would not be inferior to surgical replacement. Before randomization, patients were entered into one of two cohorts on the basis of clinical and imaging findings; 76.3% of the patients were included in the transfemoral-access cohort and 23.7% in the transthoracic-access cohort. Results The rate of death from any cause or disabling stroke was similar in the TAVR group and the surgery group (P=0.001 for noninferiority). At 2 years, the Kaplan-Meier event rates were 19.3% in the TAVR group and 21.1% in the surgery group (hazard ratio in the TAVR group, 0.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73 to 1.09; P=0.25). In the transfemoral-access cohort, TAVR resulted in a lower rate of death or disabling stroke than surgery (hazard ratio, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.62 to 1.00; P=0.05), whereas in the transthoracic-access cohort, outcomes were similar in the two groups. TAVR resulted in larger aortic-valve areas than did surgery and also resulted in lower rates of acute kidney injury, severe bleeding, and new-onset atrial fibrillation; surgery resulted in fewer major vascular complications and less paravalvular aortic regurgitation. Conclusions In intermediate-risk patients, TAVR was similar to surgical aortic-valve replacement with respect to the primary end point of death or disabling stroke. (Funded by Edwards Lifesciences; PARTNER 2 number, NCT01314313 .).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Medical terms, Atrial fibrillation, Surgery, Randomness, Atrial flutter, Blood transfusion, Aortic valve stenosis


Background We compared transcatheter aortic-valve replacement (TAVR), using a self-expanding transcatheter aortic-valve bioprosthesis, with surgical aortic-valve replacement in patients with severe aortic stenosis and an increased risk of death during surgery. Methods We recruited patients with severe aortic stenosis who were at increased surgical risk as determined by the heart team at each study center. Risk assessment included the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Predictor Risk of Mortality estimate and consideration of other key risk factors. Eligible patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to TAVR with the self-expanding transcatheter valve (TAVR group) or to surgical aortic-valve replacement (surgical group). The primary end point was the rate of death from any cause at 1 year, evaluated with the use of both noninferiority and superiority testing. Results A total of 795 patients underwent randomization at 45 centers in the United States. In the as-treated analysis, the rate of death from any cause at 1 year was significantly lower in the TAVR group than in the surgical group (14.2% vs. 19.1%), with an absolute reduction in risk of 4.9 percentage points (upper boundary of the 95% confidence interval, -0.4; P<0.001 for noninferiority; P = 0.04 for superiority). The results were similar in the intention-to-treat analysis. In a hierarchical testing procedure, TAVR was noninferior with respect to echocardiographic indexes of valve stenosis, functional status, and quality of life. Exploratory analyses suggested a reduction in the rate of major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events and no increase in the risk of stroke. Conclusions In patients with severe aortic stenosis who are at increased surgical risk, TAVR with a self-expanding transcatheter aortic-valve bioprosthesis was associated with a significantly higher rate of survival at 1 year than surgical aortic-valve replacement. (Funded by Medtronic; U.S. CoreValve High Risk Study number, NCT01240902 .).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Mortality rate, Medical terms, Heart, Risk, Surgery, Physician, Aortic valve stenosis


IMPORTANCE Aortic stenosis is the most common form of valvular heart disease. Progression of aortic stenosis is very slow and highly variable. Decisions about when to perform valve surgery are made by subjective assessment of patient symptoms and objective measures of the valve and ventricular function by transthoracic echocardiography. OBJECTIVE To review current concepts regarding the development, progression, and assessment of aortic stenosis; the appropriate monitoring intervals for transthoracic echocardiography; and the indications for valve procedures. EVIDENCE REVIEW Guidelines and literature search. FINDINGS Angina, exertional syncope, and heart failure are key symptoms indicating a need for intervention. The frequency of valvular monitoring by transthoracic echocardiography is guided by the disease severity. Despite evidence of severe disease, valve procedures can safely be deferred if patients experience no symptoms and have normal left ventricular ejection fraction. Asymptomatic patients with severe aortic stenosis may subconsciously curtail their activities to avoid symptoms. Apparently, asymptomatic patients can undergo a carefully monitored exercise stress test to confirm both their asymptomatic status and hemodynamic response to exercise. Bioprosthetic valves are a good replacement alternative for older patients who are good surgical candidates and who have no need for warfarin therapy. For patients who are at high or very high risk of cardiac surgery, transcutaneous aortic valve implantation is an increasing available and preferred over medical management. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Asymptomatic patients with severe aortic stenosis require frequent monitoring of their subjective symptoms combined with objective measurement of aortic valve gradient and ventricular function by transthoracic echocardiography. Although conventional surgical replacement remains the mainstay of therapy for aortic stenosis, transcutaneous aortic valve implantation options are evolving.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Cardiology, Heart failure, Ejection fraction, Heart, Echocardiography, Left ventricle, Aortic valve stenosis


Sex differences in risk factors of aortic valve calcification (AVC) by echocardiography have not been reported from a large prospective study in aortic stenosis (AS).

Concepts: Male, Gender, Aortic valve stenosis, Aortic valve area calculation


Based on the early results of the Placement of Aortic Transcatheter Valves (PARTNER) trial, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is an accepted treatment for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not suitable for surgery. However, little information is available about the late clinical outcomes in such patients.

Concepts: Aortic valve stenosis


Calcific aortic valve stenosis (CAVS) is a common and life-threatening heart disease and the current treatment options cannot stop or delay its progression. A GWAS on 1009 cases and 1017 ethnically matched controls was combined with a large-scale eQTL mapping study of human aortic valve tissues (n = 233) to identify susceptibility genes for CAVS. Replication was performed in the UK Biobank, including 1391 cases and 352,195 controls. A transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) reveals PALMD (palmdelphin) as significantly associated with CAVS. The CAVS risk alleles and increasing disease severity are both associated with decreased mRNA expression levels of PALMD in valve tissues. The top variant identified shows a similar effect and strong association with CAVS (P = 1.53 × 10-10) in UK Biobank. The identification of PALMD as a susceptibility gene for CAVS provides insights into the genetic nature of this disease, opens avenues to investigate its etiology and to develop much-needed therapeutic options.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, United Kingdom, Identification, Aortic valve, Aortic valve stenosis


Calcific aortic stenosis (AS) is the most common form of valve disease in the western world and affects over 2.5 million individuals in North America. Despite the large burden of disease, there are no medical treatments to slow the development of AS, due at least in part to our incomplete understanding of its causes. The CHARGE extra-coronary calcium consortium reported a genome-wide association study (GWAS) demonstrating that genetic variants in LPA are strongly associated with aortic valve (AV) calcium and clinical AS. Using a Mendelian randomization study design, it was demonstrated that the effect of this genetic variant is mediated by plasma lipoprotein(a) (Lp[a]), directly implicating elevations in Lp(a) as a cause of AV calcium and progression to AS. This discovery has sparked intense interest in Lp(a) as a modifiable cause for aortic valve disease. Herein, we will review the mounting epidemiological and genetic findings in support of Lp(a) mediated valve disease, discuss potential mechanisms underlying this observation and outline the steps to translate this discovery to a much needed novel preventive and/or therapeutic strategy for aortic valve disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Genetics, Epidemiology, Genome-wide association study, Aortic valve, Western world, Western culture, Aortic valve stenosis


Currently, no pharmacological treatment can modify the natural history of aortic valve stenosis (AS). This underlines the critical need to explore novel treatment strategies, which could postpone or prevent the need for aortic valve replacement in patients with asymptomatic AS. The objectives of this study were to investigate whether metoprolol reduce the hemodynamic and metabolic burden imposed by AS.

Concepts: Aortic valve stenosis


Aortic valve stenosis (AS) is the most common valvular heart disease, and valve replacement is the only definitive treatment. Here we report a large genome-wide association (GWA) study of 2,457 Icelandic AS cases and 349,342 controls with a follow-up in up to 4,850 cases and 451,731 controls of European ancestry. We identify two new AS loci, on chromosome 1p21 near PALMD (rs7543130; odds ratio (OR) = 1.20, P = 1.2 × 10-22) and on chromosome 2q22 in TEX41 (rs1830321; OR = 1.15, P = 1.8 × 10-13). Rs7543130 also associates with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) (OR = 1.28, P = 6.6 × 10-10) and aortic root diameter (P = 1.30 × 10-8), and rs1830321 associates with BAV (OR = 1.12, P = 5.3 × 10-3) and coronary artery disease (OR = 1.05, P = 9.3 × 10-5). The results implicate both cardiac developmental abnormalities and atherosclerosis-like processes in the pathogenesis of AS. We show that several pathways are shared by CAD and AS. Causal analysis suggests that the shared risk factors of Lp(a) and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol contribute substantially to the frequent co-occurence of these diseases.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Angina pectoris, Coronary artery disease, Heart, Atheroma, Artery, Aortic valve stenosis, Aortic insufficiency


Up to 40% of patients with aortic stenosis (AS) harbor discordant Doppler-echocardiographic findings, the most common of which is the presence of a small aortic valve area (≤1.0 cm(2)) suggesting severe AS, but a low gradient (<40 mm Hg) suggesting nonsevere AS. The purpose of this paper is to present the role of multimodality imaging in the diagnostic and therapeutic management of this challenging entity referred to as low-gradient AS. Doppler-echocardiography is critical to determine the subtype of low-gradient AS: that is, classical low-flow, paradoxical low-flow, or normal-flow. Patients with low-flow, low-gradient AS generally have a worse prognosis compared with patients with high-gradient or with normal-flow, low-gradient AS. Patients with low-gradient AS and evidence of severe AS benefit from aortic valve replacement (AVR). However, confirmation of the presence of severe AS is particularly challenging in these patients and requires a multimodality imaging approach including low-dose dobutamine stress echocardiography and aortic valve calcium scoring by multidetector computed tomography. Transcatheter AVR using a transfemoral approach may be superior to surgical AVR in patients with low-flow, low-gradient AS. Further studies are needed to confirm the best valve replacement procedure and prosthetic valve for each category of low-gradient AS and to identify patients with low-gradient AS in whom AVR is likely to be futile.

Concepts: Valvular heart disease, Aortic valve stenosis, Aortic valve area calculation