BACKGROUND: Surgical timing of chronic aortic regurgitation (AR) remains a matter of debate because of limited data. This study assessed the prognostic value of exercise echocardiography in asymptomatic AR.
METHODS: This prospective study included 60 consecutive asymptomatic patients with isolated moderate or severe AR (mean regurgitant volume 56.7 ± 11.8 ml) and preserved ejection fraction who underwent exercise echocardiography. The clinical outcomes were defined by the presence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) and the indication for aortic valve replacement (AVR) with class I or IIa classification in the current guidelines.
RESULTS: During the average follow-up of 731 days, 12 patients suffered from the clinical events, including two patients developing MACE (3%) and ten patients indicating for AVR (17%). No difference in left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction at rest was found between the patients with and without the clinical events. The indexed LV diameters and LV volumes were significantly dilated in the patients with the clinical events. The Cox proportional hazards regression analysis resulted that the exercise LV end-systolic volume index (LVESVi) was significantly associated with the clinical outcomes [hazard ratio, 1.116; 95% CI (1.032-1.205); p = 0.006]. The Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that exercise LVESVi was clearly stratified the event-free survival.
CONCLUSIONS: Exercise LVESVi might be an independent predictor of prognosis in patients with asymptomatic moderate or severe AR.