Background - The outcome of aortic regurgitation conservatively followed in clinical practice is poorly defined. Methods and Results - Long-term outcome of 246 patients with severe or moderately severe aortic regurgitation diagnosed by color Doppler echocardiography was analyzed. With conservative management, mortality rate was higher than expected (at 10 years, 34 ± 5 %, P<0.001) and morbidity was high (10-year rates of 47 ± 6% for heart failure and 62 ± 4% for aortic valve surgery). At 10 years, 75 ± 3% of patients had died or had surgery and 83 ± 3% had had cardiovascular events. In multivariate analysis, predictors of survival were age (P<0.001), functional class (P<0.001), comorbidity index (P=0.033), atrial fibrillation (P=0.002), and left ventricular end-systolic diameter corrected for body surface area (P=0.025). Ejection fraction was also an independent predictor of overall survival, including postoperative follow-up of surgically treated patients (P<0.001). High risk during conservative treatment, with mortality rate in excess of that expected, was noted among patients with severe, even transient, symptoms (24.6% yearly, P<0.001) but also in those with mild (class II) symptoms (6.3% yearly, P=0.02) and in asymptomatic patients with left ventricular ejection fraction <55% (5.8% yearly, P=0.03) or with end- systolic diameter normalized to body surface area ≥25 mm/m2 (7.8% yearly, P=0.004). Surgery performed during follow-up was independently associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.54; P=0.048). Conclusions - Patients diagnosed with severe aortic regurgitation in clinical practice incur excess mortality and high morbidity, underscoring the serious prognosis of the disease. Surgery, which reduces cardiac mortality rates, should be considered promptly in high-risk patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)