Myocardial Fibrosis in Classical Low-Flow, Low-Gradient Aortic Stenosis: Insights From a Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Study

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Background:Few data exist on the degree of interstitial myocardial fibrosis in patients with classical low-flow, low-gradient aortic stenosis (LFLG-AS) and its association with left ventricular flow reserve (FR) on dobutamine stress echocardiography. This study sought to evaluate the diffuse interstitial fibrosis measured by T1 mapping cardiac magnetic resonance technique in LFLG-AS patients with and without FR.Methods:Prospective study including 65 consecutive patients (41 LFLG-AS [mean age, 67.1±8.4 years; 83% men] and 24 high-gradient aortic stenosis used as controls) undergoing dobutamine stress echocardiography to assess FR and cardiac magnetic resonance to determine the extracellular volume (ECV) fraction of the myocardium, indexed ECV (iECV) to body surface area and late gadolinium enhancement.Results:Interstitial myocardial fibrosis measured by iECV was higher in patients with LFLG-AS with and without FR as compared with high-gradient aortic stenosis (35.25±9.75 versus 32.93±11.00 versus 21.19±6.47 mL/m2, respectively; P<0.001). However, both ECV and iECV levels were similar between LFLG-AS patients with and without FR (P=0.950 and P=0.701, respectively). Also, FR did not correlate significantly with ECV (r=−0.16, P=0.31) or iECV (r=0.11, P=0.51). Late gadolinium enhancement mass was also similar in patients with versus without FR but lower in high-gradient aortic stenosis (13.3±10.2 versus 10.5±7.5 versus 4.8±5.9 g, respectively; P=0.018).Conclusions:Patients with LFLG-AS have higher ECV, iECV, and late gadolinium enhancement mass compared with high-gradient aortic stenosis. Moreover, among patients with LFLG-AS, the degree of myocardial fibrosis was similar in patients with versus those without FR. These findings suggest that diffuse myocardial fibrosis may not be the main factor responsible for the absence of FR in LFLG-AS patients.

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