Introduction and Aims of The Study: The relief of outflow obstruction after transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is expected to improve cardiac output, LV systolic and diastolic function and to regress left ventricular (LV) mass. The impact of these changes on left atrial (LA) reservoir, conduit and contractile function remains unknown. Our aims were to compare LA functions in patients with transfemoral (TF) vs transapical (TA) TAVR and test whether they have an impact on patient outcomes.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of LA deformation by speckle tracking strain echocardiography in 54 patients with TA TAVR and 54 TF TAVR, matched for age, sex and STS score. Measurements were performed pre TAVR and 1 month and 1 year post TAVR. Follow up data was available up to 5 years.
Results: At baseline, there were no significant differences between the TF and TA groups with regard to patient age (81 ± 8 vs 82 ± 8 years), male gender (44% vs. 44%) or STS score (8.3 ± 4.4 vs 9.7 ± 4.5, respectively). LV filling pressures (E/e’) at baseline and 1 month were higher in TA vs. TF group (see table). LV global longitudinal strain (GLS) were similar at baseline and improved at 1 month only in the TF group (p=0.0001), while in the TA group it showed an improvement only at 1 year. LA reservoir, conduit and contractile functions improved within 1 month post TAVR in the TF group. In contrast, despite similar baseline LA functions in both groups, no improvement was observed in the TA group (see Table). At Cox proportional hazard analysis, lower LA reservoir function predicted major adverse events (death, cardiac rehospitalization or stroke) even after adjusting for age, gender and group allocation (p=0.034; risk ratio per unit decrease in LA function 1.04).
Conclusion: These findings suggest that patients with TA TAVR have poor (if any) recovery of LA functions post TAVR. Presence of a stiff LA, best reflected by a persistently reduced LA reservoir strain, may contribute to the excess morbidity seen in TA patients.