BACKGROUND: Extreme-risk patients (ie, Society of Thoracic Surgeons [STS] risk 15% or higher) with severe aortic valve stenosis may not obtain mortality benefit from aortic valve replacement (AVR). We reviewed our experience with this group of patients to better understand our triage process and outcomes.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of 97 patients with severe aortic valve stenosis and STS risk of 15% or higher treated from 2008 through 2013. The median patient age was 85 years (minimum, 44; maximum, 97 years), and 47 patients (48.5%) were male. The STS risk of mortality was 19.8% (minimum, 15.1%; maximum, 60.9%). Patients were assigned to treatment groups based on the first aortic valve intervention of balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV group, 66 [68%]) or de novo AVR (d-AVR group, 31 [32%]).
RESULTS: Patients in the BAV group were sicker, with a reduced ejection fraction (0.35 vs 0.57; p = 0.002) and greater prevalence of urgent/emergency operative status (32% vs 10%; p = 0.004) compared with those in the d-AVR group. After BAV, 33 patients (50%) demonstrated clinical improvement and went on to receive subsequent staged AVR after a median of 64 days (minimum, 3; maximum, 390 days). The mortality rate at 2 years was worse in the BAV group (57.3% ± 6.3%) than in the d-AVR group (29.5% ± 8.3%; p = 0.015), but was similar in patients who received BAV followed by staged AVR and de novo AVR (p = 0.426).
CONCLUSIONS: BAV may triage select patients with STS risk 15% or higher who are questionable candidates for AVR. Patients with clinical improvement after BAV experience benefit from staged AVR.
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