Timing of surgery in aortic stenosis
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Aortic valve stenosis (AVS) usually results from three distinct processes (degenerativecalcific, rheumatic, and congenital), with a final common pathway of significant aortic outflow tract obstruction. The stenotic lesion tends to progress slowly, but once symptoms develop clinical deterioration can ensue rapidly. Chest pain, dyspnea, and syncope are the most common symptoms of significant AVS. Detection of symptoms, subtle or obvious, is critical to the management of AVS because their presence portends a worse overall prognosis and is an indication for intervention. There are several special clinical scenarios that require added consideration, including individuals with concomitant coronary artery disease, the presence of a relatively small transvalvular pressure gradient in the setting of low cardiac output (so-called low-gradient AVS), and elderly with severe AVS. Surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR) is the mainstay treatment for relief of obstruction in patients with symptomatic AVS. Percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty is reserved for the small minority of patients who are not surgical candidates and is associated with a high restenosis rate. Percutaneous AVR is a new technology that is being tested in a few select centers on patients who are not operative candidates.
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References and Recommended Reading
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