Predictors and Association With Clinical Outcomes of the Changes in Exercise Capacity After Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

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At present, there are no objective data specifically examining the clinical impact of variations in exercise capacity post–transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). We describe the changes in exercise capacity between baseline and 6 months post-TAVR, and ascertain factors associated with and clinical implications of a lack of improvement in exercise capacity post-TAVR.


A total of 305 patients (mean age, 79±9 years; 44% men; Society of Thoracic Surgeons predicted risk mortality score, 6.7±4.2%) undergoing TAVR completed both baseline and follow-up exercise capacity assessments at 6 months post-TAVR. Exercise capacity was evaluated by the 6-minute walk test (6MWT). Clinical outcomes were compared between patients displaying greater than (n=152; improving group) versus less than (n=153; nonimproving group) the median percentage change in distance walked between baseline and 6-month follow-up examinations. The primary outcome measure was clinical event rates, measured from the 6-month post-TAVR period onward. Further dichotomization according to baseline 6MWT distance (less than versus more than median walking distance, or slow walker versus fast walker) was also assessed.


The mean overall distances walked pre- and post-TAVR (6 months post-TAVR) were 204±119 and 263±116 m, respectively (Δ6MWT=60±106 m), with 219 (72%) patients demonstrating an increase in their walking distance (median percentage increase of the entire population was 20% [interquartile range, 0%–80%]). Factors independently correlated with reduced exercise capacity improvement included a range of baseline clinical characteristics (older age, female sex, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; P<0.05 for all), periprocedural major or life-threatening bleeding (P=0.009) and new-onset anemia at 6 months post-TAVR (P=0.009). Failure to improve the 6MWT distance by at least 20% was independently associated with all-cause mortality (P=0.002) and cardiovascular death or rehospitalization for cardiovascular causes (P=0.001). Baseline slow walkers who were able to improve the 6MWT distance presented with significantly better outcomes than nonimprovers (P=0.01 for all-cause mortality; P=0.001 for cardiovascular end point).


Approximately one-third of patients undergoing TAVR did not improve their exercise capacity postprocedure. The lack of functional improvement post-TAVR was predicted by a mix of baseline and periprocedural factors translating into poorer clinical outcomes. These results suggest that systematically implementing exercise capacity assessment pre- and post-TAVR may help to improve patient risk stratification.

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