Transesophageal echocardiographic scoring for transcatheter aortic valve implantation: impact of aortic cusp calcification on postoperative aortic regurgitation

Andrea Colli, Roberto D'Amico, Joerg Kempfert, Michael A Borger, Friedrich W Mohr, Thomas Walther
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2011, 142 (5): 1229-35

OBJECTIVE: Transcatheter aortic valve implantation is an emerging technique for the treatment of aortic valve stenosis in high-risk patients. Detailed knowledge of aortic root anatomy, including specific information on the extent of native cusp calcifications, is required. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether echocardiographic assessment of aortic stenosis using a calcification score is useful to predict outcomes of transcatheter aortic valve implantation in elderly high-risk patients.

METHODS: Detailed preoperative digitalized transesophageal echocardiographic images were available from 103 patients treated by transapical transcatheter aortic valve implantation between February 2006 and February 2009. On the basis of a previously published study, an index score was developed to describe the extent of valve calcification ranging from 0 to 8 (normal to diffuse calcification).

RESULTS: The median age of patients was 82.2 ± 5.9 years. The mean logistic European System for Cardiac Operative Risk Evaluation was 33.0% ± 16.3%. Mild paravalvular leak was present in 43 patients (42.2%), and a moderate paravalvular leak was observed in 5 patients (4.9%). Severe regurgitation was not observed in any patient. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the transcatheter aortic valve implantation echocardiographic calcification score is associated with the presence of moderate paravalvular aortic regurgitation (odds ratio, 8.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-58.9; P = .0001) and overall moderate aortic regurgitation (odds ratio, 3.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-10.4; P = .0006).

CONCLUSIONS: Transesophageal echocardiography demonstrates detailed anatomic information of the calcification patterns of the aortic valve and root and thus plays an important role in the screening of patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve implantation. The transcatheter aortic valve implantation echocardiographic calcification score allowed prediction of the risk of postoperative paravalvular and overall aortic regurgitation.

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