Valvular aortic stenosis: risk of syncope

H Omran, W Fehske, R Rabahieh, A Hagendorff, L Pizzulli, M Zirbes, B L├╝deritz
Journal of Heart Valve Disease 1996, 5 (1): 31-4

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Syncope is a serious complication of aortic stenosis. The aim of this study was to determine whether hemodynamic parameters are useful for estimating the risk of syncope in aortic stenosis.

METHODS: In 43 patients with aortic stenosis, cardiac catheterization and echocardiography were performed to measure the pressure gradient across the aortic valve, the aortic valve area, left ventricular mass index, systolic left ventricular wall stress and peak systolic coronary artery flow velocities. Hemodynamic parameters were correlated with syncope and the accuracy of those parameters for determining the risk of syncope were assessed.

RESULTS: Ten out of 43 patients experienced syncope. The highest correlation with syncope was found for systolic left ventricular wall stress (R = 0.74, p < 0.001). In descending order of correlation were peak systolic coronary artery flow velocity (R = 0.68, p = 0.002), the pressure gradient across the aortic valve (R = 0.62, p = 0.01) and the aortic valve area (R = 0.43, p = 0.03). Left ventricular mass index was not significantly correlated with syncope. Multivariate analysis revealed systolic left ventricular wall stress to be the only factor contributing to determining syncope (F-to-remove: 47.8). A discriminative value of > 225 dyn/cm-2 x 103 for left ventricular wall stress identified patients with a history of syncope with a specificity of 97% and a sensitivity of 90%.

CONCLUSIONS: Syncope in aortic stenosis is closely correlated to increased left ventricular wall stress and attenuated, peak systolic coronary flow velocities. Cut off values may be used to identify patients with an increased risk of syncope.

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