Quantitative assessment of paravalvular regurgitation following transcatheter aortic valve replacement

Gareth Crouch, Phillip J Tully, Jayme Bennetts, Ajay Sinhal, Craig Bradbrook, Amy L Penhall, Carmine G De Pasquale, Robert A Baker, Joseph B Selvanayagam
Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2015 May 8, 17: 32

BACKGROUND: Paravalvular aortic regurgitation (PAR) following transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is well acknowledged. Despite improvements, echocardiographic measurement of PAR largely remains qualitative. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) directly quantifies AR with accuracy and reproducibility. We compared CMR and transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) analysis of pre-operative and post-operative aortic regurgitation in patients undergoing both TAVI and surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR).

METHODS: Eighty-seven patients with severe aortic stenosis undergoing TAVI (56 patients) or AVR were recruited. CMR (1.5 T) and transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) were carried out pre-operatively and a median of 6 days post-operatively. The CMR protocol included regurgitant aortic flows using through-plane phase-contrast velocity. None/trivial, mild, moderate and severe AR by CMR was defined as ≤8%, 9-20%, 21-39%, >40% regurgitant fractions respectively.

RESULTS: Pre- and post-operative left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was similar. Post-procedure aortic regurgitant fraction using CMR was higher in the TAVI group (TAVI 16 ± 13% vs. AVR 4 ± 4%, p < 0.01). Comparing CMR to TTE, 27 of 56 (48%) TAVI patients had PAR which was at least one grade more severe on CMR than TTE (Z = -4.56, p <0.001). Sensitivity analysis confirmed the difference in PAR grade between TTE and CMR in the TAVI group (Z = -4.49, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: When compared to CMR based quantitative analysis, TTE underestimated the degree of paravalvular aortic regurgitation. This underestimation may in part explain the findings of increased mortality associated with mild or greater AR by TTE in the PARTNER trial. Paravalvular aortic regurgitation post TAVI assessed as mild by TTE may in fact be more severe.

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