To investigate and describe the distribution of aortic and cerebral blood flow (CBF) in patients with severe valvular aortic stenosis (AS) before and after aortic valve bypass (AVB) surgery.Methods
We enrolled 10 consecutive patients who underwent AVB surgery for severe AS. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) and brain magnetic resonance imaging were performed as baseline before surgery and twice after surgery. Quantitative flow measurements were obtained using 1.5-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner phase-contrast images of the ascending aorta, descending thoracic aorta (3 cm proximally and distally from the conduit-to-aorta anastomosis), and ventricular outflow portion of the conduit. The evaluation of CBF was performed using 3.0-T MRI scanner arterial spin labeling (ASL) through sequences acquired at the gray matter, dorsal default-mode network, and sensorimotor levels.Results
Conduit flow, expressed as the percentage of total antegrade flow through the conduit, was 63.5 ± 8% and 67.8 ± 7% on early and mid-term postoperative CMR, respectively (P < .05). Retrograde perfusion from the level of the conduit insertion in the descending thoracic aorta toward the aortic arch accounted for 6.9% of total cardiac output and 11% of total conduit flow. We did not observe any significant reduction in left ventricular stroke volume at postoperative evaluation compared with preoperative evaluation (P = .435). No differences were observed between preoperative and postoperative CBF at the gray matter, dorsal default-mode network, and sensorimotor levels (P = .394).Conclusions
After AVB surgery in patients with severe AS, cardiac output is split between the native left ventricular outflow tract and the apico-aortic bypass, with two-thirds of the total antegrade flow passing through the latter and one-third passing through the former. In our experience, CBF assessment confirms that the flow redistribution does not jeopardize cerebral blood supply.