Last updated on April 2019

Aortic Valve Replacement Versus Conservative Treatment in Asymptomatic Severe Aortic Stenosis

Brief description of study

Whether to intervene in asymptomatic patients with severe aortic stenosis and normal left ventricular ejection fraction remains controversial. The investigators therefore try to compare clinical outcomes of elective aortic valve replacement to conventional treatment and watchful waiting strategy in a prospective randomized trial.

Detailed Study Description

Aortic valve replacement (AVR) therapy is obvious choice in symptomatic severe aortic stenosis (AS) patients, because it improves symptoms, LV function and survival. Therefore, the accurate diagnosis of the disease, determination of its severity and precise evaluation of patients' clinical status is essential. However, the treatment decisions and indication for AVR in asymptomatic patients with severe AS and normal left ventricular ejection fraction (LV EF) are vague and the subject of ongoing debate. The most recent European and American guidelines have class I indication for AVR in asymptomatic severe AS patients with normal LV EF only in patients already scheduled for other cardiac surgery (for example by-pass surgery). In the case of symptom positive stress test American and European guideline differs, with European guidelines having class I indication and American guidelines only IIb indication. In all those cases of asymptomatic severe AS patients with normal LV EF the level of evidence is C, in other words there are no randomized trials. The consequence is that the decisions are made individually, patient by patient, and for this reason a patient with identical echocardiographic/clinical characteristics might be operated in USA but not in Europe (or any other part in the world), and vice-versa.

With the experience that has accumulated so far, there are retrospective and observational data that elective AVR might lead to favorable outcome compared to late (after symptom onset) surgery. This may especially come to attention with the understanding that annual risk of sudden cardiac death in asymptomatic severe AS patients with normal LV EF might be very similar or even a bit higher than operative mortality in experienced cardiac surgery centers.

Nevertheless, the majority of cardiologist worldwide are reluctant to send their asymptomatic patient with isolated severe AS and normal LV EF to AVR, and it will probably stay like that till randomized trials give us an answer whether elective AVR is beneficial.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02436655

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Recruitment Status: Open

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