BACKGROUND: In aortic valve stenosis (AS), the occurrence of heart failure symptoms does not always correlate with severity of valve stenosis and left ventricular (LV) function. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that symptomatic patients with AS have impaired diastolic, longitudinal systolic function, and left atrial dilatation compared with asymptomatic patients.
METHODS AND RESULTS: In a retrospective descriptive study, we compared clinical characteristics and echocardiographic parameters in 99 symptomatic and 139 asymptomatic patients with severe AS and LV ejection fraction ≥50%. Independent predictors of symptomatic state were identified using logistic regression analysis. Symptomatic patients were younger (72±10 versus 76±12 years of age; P=0.002), presented less often with atrial fibrillation (13% versus 24%; P=0.05) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (2% versus 19%; P<0.001), and had a lower prevalence of hypertension (73% versus 40%; P<0.001). Despite similar AS severity, symptomatic patients had higher LV mass index (120±39 versus 95±25 g/m2; P<0.0001), increased relative wall thickness (0.61±0.15 versus 0.50±0.11; P<0.0001), shorter mitral deceleration time (199±58 versus 268±62 ms; P<0.0001), and increased left atrial volume index (49±18 versus 42±15 mL/m2; P=0.02). When adjusting for age, history of hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in a multivariable logistic regression analysis, LV mass index, relative wall thickness, left atrial volume index, and deceleration time were still associated with the presence of symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates that symptomatic status in severe AS is associated with impaired diastolic function, LV hypertrophy, concentric remodeling, and left atrial dilatation when corrected for indices of AS severity.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00294775.