Persistent diastolic dysfunction late after valve replacement in severe aortic regurgitation

Bruno Villari, Samuel Sossalla, Quirino Ciampi, Bruno Petruzziello, Juraj Turina, Jakob Schneider, Marko Turina, Otto M Hess
Circulation 2009 December 8, 120 (23): 2386-92

BACKGROUND: Regression of left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy with normalization of diastolic function has been reported in patients with aortic stenosis late after aortic valve replacement (AVR). The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effect of AVR on LV function and structure in chronic aortic regurgitation early and late after AVR.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Twenty-six patients were included in the present analysis. Eleven patients with severe aortic regurgitation were studied before, early (21 months) and late (89 months) after AVR through the use of LV biplane angiograms, high-fidelity pressure measurements, and LV endomyocardial biopsies. Fifteen healthy subjects were used as controls. LV systolic function was determined from biplane ejection fraction and midwall fractional shortening. LV diastolic function was calculated from the time constant of LV relaxation, peak filling rates, and myocardial stiffness constant. LV structure was assessed from muscle fiber diameter, interstitial fibrosis, and fibrous content. LV muscle mass decreased significantly by 38% early and 55% late after surgery. Ejection fraction was significantly reduced preoperatively and did not change after AVR (P=NS). LV relaxation was significantly prolonged before surgery (89+/-28 ms) but was normalized late after AVR (42+/-14 ms). Early and late peak filling rates were increased preoperatively but normalized postoperatively. Diastolic stiffness constant was increased before surgery (22+/-6 versus 9+/-3 in control subjects; P=0.0003) and remained elevated early and late after AVR (23+/-4; P=0.002). Muscle fiber diameter decreased significantly after AVR but remained increased at late follow-up. Interstitial fibrosis was increased preoperatively and increased even further early but decreased late after AVR. Fibrosis was positively linearly correlated to myocardial stiffness and inversely correlated to LV ejection fraction.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with aortic regurgitation show normalization of macroscopic LV hypertrophy late after AVR, although fiber hypertrophy persists. These changes in LV myocardial structure late after AVR are accompanied by a change in passive elastic properties with persistent diastolic dysfunction.

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