Resection of subaortic stenosis; can a more aggressive approach be justified?†

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Objectives: Discrete subaortic stenosis causes left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) obstruction and often produces aortic regurgitation (AR) which alone may precipitate surgical intervention. Conventional resection relieves the obstruction, but the recurrence rate is high, and the AR is little changed as the thick fibrous membrane which extends onto the valve leaflets remains. We studied whether an aggressive surgical approach could reduce both the severity of AR and rate of recurrence of obstruction associated with discrete subaortic stenosis, and whether this aggressive approach could be justified. Methods: Between June 1992 and April 1996, 37 patients aged 0.5-35 years (median 7.5) underwent resection of a discrete subaortic membrane. Ten underwent re-operation for recurrent obstruction and eight followed previous ventricular septal defect closure. LVOT gradient was measured using the modified Bernoulli equation and AR was graded on a scale of 0-4 (0=none, 4=severe). Postoperative assessment was performed early (<7 days) and at mid-term (27.0 months; range 2-59 months). Results: There was significant improvement in AR from mild/moderate to none/trivial (P=0.019) immediately postoperatively and LVOT gradient from 66.9±30.4 to 15.1±12.2 mmHg (P<0.0001). By stepwise logistic regression preoperative gradient correlated significantly with postoperative mild/moderate AR (P=0.015) and LVOT gradient (P=0.0036). Preoperative mild/moderate AR also correlated with postoperative mild/moderate AR (P=0.034). Five patients developed complete heart block, four undergoing reoperation for recurrent obstruction, and one preoperatively had right bundle branch block from previous ventricular septal defect repair. At mid-term follow-up there was no increase in AR or LVOT gradient (14.8±12.8 mmHg). Early post-operative AR was the strongest predictor of late mild/moderate AR (P=0.02). Early post-operative gradient was a weaker predictor (P=0.04). Pre-operative and early post-operative gradient were significant predictors of late gradient (P=0.0038; <0.0001, respectively). No patient required reoperation for recurrent obstruction; one underwent late aortic valve replacement for severe AR. Conclusions: An aggressive surgical approach to discrete subaortic stenosis produces excellent relief of obstruction and frees the valve leaflets, significantly reducing associated AR at early and mid-term follow-up with low morbidity for primary operation. Long-term follow-up is required to confirm whether this early benefit is maintained.

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