Progression of hypertrophy and myocardial fibrosis in aortic stenosis: A multicenter cardiac magnetic resonance study

Russell J. Everett, Lionel Tastet, Marie-Annick Clavel, Calvin W. L. Chin, Romain Capoulade, Vassilios S. Vassiliou, Jacek Kwiecinski, Miquel Gomez, Edwin J. R. van Beek, Audrey C. White, Sanjay K. Prasad, Eric Larose, Christopher Tuck, Scott Semple, David E. Newby, Philippe Pibarot, Marc R. Dweck

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Background: Aortic stenosis is accompanied by progressive left ventricular hypertrophy and fibrosis. We investigated the natural history of these processes in asymptomatic patients and their potential reversal post-aortic valve replacement (AVR). 
Methods: Asymptomatic and symptomatic patients with aortic stenosis underwent repeat echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging. Changes in peak aortic-jet velocity, left ventricular mass index, diffuse fibrosis (indexed extracellular volume), and replacement fibrosis (late gadolinium enhancement [LGE]) were quantified. 
RESULTS: In 61 asymptomatic patients (43% mild, 34% moderate, and 23% severe aortic stenosis), significant increases in peak aortic-jet velocity, left ventricular mass index, indexed extracellular volume, and LGE mass were observed after 2.1±0.7 years, with the most rapid progression observed in patients with most severe stenosis. Patients with baseline midwall LGE (n=16 [26%]; LGE mass, 2.5 g [0.8–4.8 g]) demonstrated particularly rapid increases in scar burden (78% [50%–158%] increase in LGE mass per year). In 38 symptomatic patients (age, 66±8 years; 76% men) who underwent AVR, there was a 19% (11%–25%) reduction in left ventricular mass index (P<0.0001) and an 11% (4%–16%) reduction in indexed extracellular volume (P=0.003) 0.9±0.3 years after surgery. By contrast midwall LGE (n=10 [26%]; mass, 3.3 g [2.6–8.0 g]) did not change post-AVR (n=10; 3.5 g [2.1–8.0 g]; P=0.23), with no evidence of regression even out to 2 years. 
Conclusions: In patients with aortic stenosis, cellular hypertrophy and diffuse fibrosis progress in a rapid and balanced manner but are reversible after AVR. Once established, midwall LGE also accumulates rapidly but is irreversible post valve replacement. Given its adverse long-term prognosis, prompt AVR when midwall LGE is first identified may improve clinical outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere007451
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number6
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • aortic valve stenosis
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • myocardial fibrosis
  • valve replacement

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