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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. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: Unique identifiers: NCT01755936 and NCT01679431.

Original publication




Journal article


Circ cardiovasc imaging

Publication Date





aortic valve stenosis, fibrosis, gadolinium, hypertrophy, magnetic resonance imaging, Aged, Aortic Valve Stenosis, Contrast Media, Disease Progression, Echocardiography, Female, Fibrosis, Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation, Humans, Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Myocardium, Predictive Value of Tests, Prospective Studies, Quebec, Scotland, Severity of Illness Index, Time Factors, Ventricular Function, Left, Ventricular Remodeling