The "Heart Valve Clinic" Pathway for the Management of Frail Patients With Valvular Heart Disease: From "One for All" to "All for One"

Natalia Pavone, Giovanni A Chiariello, Piergiorgio Bruno, Emanuele Marzetti, Claudio Spalletta, Marialisa Nesta, Andrea Mazza, Federico Cammertoni, Christian Colizzi, Mauro Iafrancesco, Annalisa Pasquini, Arianna Di Molfetta, Francesco Burzotta, Massimo Massetti
Critical Pathways in Cardiology 2019, 18 (2): 61-65
Valvular heart disease (VHD) is frequently diagnosed in old patients with clinical evidence of heart failure. This elderly population typically presents a high prevalence of frailty and comorbidities, which are associated with increased operative risk for surgical and percutaneous procedures. Recently, the Euro Heart Survey reported a clear gap between treatment guidelines and their application in the "real world". A more realistic approach to the treatment of older VHD patients treatment, mostly if associated with heart failure, is advocated. A multidisciplinary approach, as obtained with the Heart Valve Clinic methodology (intended to put the patient in the "center" of the scene and the specialists "around him"), has been applied in a group of 79 patients, aged >70 years, with symptomatic VHD, divided in 2 groups according to their frailty status (58 robust and 21 frail). No in-hospital mortality and no difference in late mortality and complications were observed. Infections were more frequent (14.3 vs. 1.7 %; P = 0.02) in frail patients. In patients with postoperative complications, serum levels of interleukin 6 (67.6 vs. 49.6; P = 0.01) and of CAF (C-terminal agrin fragment) as sarcopenia marker (67.9 vs. 62.0; P = 0.04) were higher than that in uncomplicated patients. This study was designed to determine the outcomes of the multidimensional geriatric assessment in the management of older patients with heart failure eligible for heart valve surgery. Geriatric assessment and measurement of inflammatory and sarcopenia markers may represent valid tools for a more realistic evaluation of elderly patients with VHD.

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