Postoperative Reverse Remodeling and Symptomatic Improvement in Normal-Flow Low-Gradient Aortic Stenosis After Aortic Valve Replacement

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Background—Severe aortic stenosis (AS) most often presents with reduced aortic valve area (<1 cm2), normal stroke volume index (≥35 mL/m2), and either high mean gradient (≥40 mm Hg; normal-flow high-gradient AS) or low mean gradient (normal-flow low-gradient [NFLG] AS). The benefit of aortic valve replacement (AVR) among NFLG patients is controversial. We compared the impact of NFLG condition on preoperative left ventricular (LV) remodeling and myocardial fibrosis and postoperative remodeling and symptomatic benefit.Methods and Results—Eighty-seven consecutive patients with reduced aortic valve area and normal stroke volume index undergoing AVR underwent echocardiography, magnetic resonance imaging, a 6-minute walk test, and measurement of natriuretic peptides before and 1 year after AVR. Myocardial fibrosis was assessed from magnetic resonance imaging. Patients were stratified as NFLG or normal-flow high-gradient. In total, 33 patients (38%) had NFLG. Before AVR, they were characterized by similar symptom burden but less severe AS measured by aortic valve area index (0.50±0.09 versus 0.40±0.08 cm2/m2; P<0.0001), lower LV mass index (74±18 versus 90±26 g/m2; P=0.01), but the same degree of myocardial fibrosis. After AVR, NFLG had a smaller reduction in LV mass index (−3±10 versus −±18 g/m2; P<0.0001) and a smaller reduction in natriuretic peptides. Both groups experienced similar symptomatic improvement. Normal-flow high-gradient condition independently predicted change in LV mass index.Conclusions—Patients with NFLG had less severe AS and LV remodeling than patients with normal-flow high-gradient. Furthermore, NFLG patients experienced less reverse remodeling but the same symptomatic benefit.Clinical Trial Registration—URL: Unique identifier: NCT02316587.

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