In asymptomatic patients with severe aortic stenosis and preserved left ventricular ejection fraction, we sought to assess incremental prognostic utility of exercise stress echocardiography.Methods and Results—
We studied 533 such patients (age, 66±13 years; 78% men; 31% with coronary artery disease) who underwent exercise stress echocardiography between 2001 and 2012. Clinical, echocardiographic, and exercise variables (metabolic equivalents [METs], % of age–sex–predicted METs and heart rate recovery at first minute post exercise) were recorded. The end point was all-cause mortality. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons score, left ventricular ejection fraction, mean resting aortic valve (AV) gradient, indexed AV area, METs, and heart rate recovery were 2.9±3%, 58±4%, 35±11 mm Hg, 0.47±0.1 cm2/m2, 7.8±3, and 26±12 bpm, respectively. Only 50% achieved >100%, whereas 26% achieved <85% age–sex–predicted METs. There were no major exercise stress echocardiography-related complications. Over 6.9±3 years, 341 (64%) underwent AV replacement (54% isolated), and there were 104 (20%) deaths. On multivariable Cox proportional hazard survival analysis, a higher Society of Thoracic Surgeons score (hazard ratio, 1.21), lower % age–sex–predicted METs (hazard ratio 1.15), and slower heart rate recovery (hazard ratio, 1.22) were associated with higher longer-term mortality, whereas AV replacement (time-dependent covariate, hazard ratio, 0.26) was associated with improved survival. The addition of % age–sex–predicted METs to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons score resulted in significant reclassification of longer-term mortality risk (integrated discrimination index, 0.07 [0.03–0.11; P<0.001).Conclusions—
In asymptomatic patients with severe aortic stenosis and preserved left ventricular ejection fraction undergoing exercise stress echocardiography, a lower % of age–sex–predicted METs and slower heart rate recovery were associated with longer-term mortality, whereas AV replacement was associated with improved survival.