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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2006 August;54(4):461-70


language: English

Severe degenerative aortic stenosis: when a senile patient is a candidate for surgery

Bricco G., Quaglia C., Morello M., Mangiardi L., Grasso C., Calachanis M.

Department of Cardiology San Giovanni Battista Hospital University of Turin, Turin, Italy


Senile aortic stenosis is characterized by calcific degeneration of the valve that prevents the full opening of the cusps in systole. The disease may be silent for many years despite the presence of severe flow obstruction and generally is associated with aortic regurgitation and calcification of the coronary arteries. The continuous increase of the aged population with aortic stenosis entails difficult decisions in selecting the candidates for aortic valve replacement in order to optimize the timing for surgery. Although clinical examination is still fundamental for the diagnosis of the disease and the screening of the population, noninvasive assessment by Doppler echocardiography has transformed the management of these patients. The procedure allows better identification of patients who may benefit from valve replacement in particular in the setting of a “low output/low gradient” state and permits a follow-up of the progression of the disease in patients who are not yet candidates for surgery. It also allows a decrease in the utilization of invasive hemodynamics becoming a cost benefit tool for the health system. When performed properly, it is relatively time consuming, needs experience but offers major anatomic and hemodynamic data. Under these circumstances, cardiac catheterization is required only in cases when there is discordance between the clinical assessment and cardiac ultrasound evaluation. In this review we summarize the prevalence and significance of the disease in the elderly population and the use of all recent echocardiographic data that may help select the true candidates for surgery.

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