The spectrum of left ventricular filling in severe aortic stenosis

B R Denef, A E Aubert, H de Geest
International Journal of Cardiac Imaging 1991, 7 (2): 101-12
To assess left ventricular diastolic filling in valvular aortic stenosis, pulsed Doppler echocardiography was used prospectively in 35 patients with severe aortic stenosis (valve area less than 1 cm2) and in 38 age-matched normal subjects. Twenty-seven patients had a normal left ventricular systolic function at rest (ejection fraction greater than 0.50) and a normal or only slightly increased mean pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (mean 11 +/- 4 mm Hg). Eight patients had a poor left ventricular systolic function (ejection fraction: 0.28 +/- 0.10) and an elevated mean pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (mean: 36 +/- 9 mm Hg). The Doppler derived filling parameters were correlated with hemodynamic data, left ventricular wall thickness derived from M-mode echocardiograms, heart rate and atrio-ventricular (A-V) conduction delay using stepwise multiple correlation. The data of this study suggest that left ventricular filling is significantly impaired in patients with severe aortic stenosis and left ventricular hypertrophy with an increase in late diastolic (A-wave) velocity, an increase in the A/E ratio, a decrease in the first one-half filling fraction and a prolongation of early diastolic deceleration time. These changes in filling hemodynamics are associated with alterations in mean pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, left ventricular wall thickness, heart rate and A-V conduction delay. When heart failure develops as a result of impaired left ventricular systolic function, an increase in left atrial filling pressure is associated with a shift of left ventricular filling towards early diastole with a 'normalisation' of the transmitral flow velocity curve. In extreme cases, a progression towards a 'restrictive' filling pattern is found with a marked shortening of the left ventricular early diastolic deceleration time. In the presence of high filling pressures, increased left atrial driving pressure (derived from the mean pulmonary capillary wedge pressure) is associated with changes in the left ventricular filling pattern irrespective of the presence and the degree of myocardial hypertrophy.

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