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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2003 Jan 1;41(1):136-41.

Aortic valve sclerosis is associated with systemic endothelial dysfunction.

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1
Echocardiography Laboratory, Institute of Clinical Physiology, CNR, Pisa, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We sought to examine the association between aortic valve sclerosis (AVS) and systemic endothelial manifestations of the atherosclerotic process.

BACKGROUND:

Clinical and experimental studies suggest that AVS is a manifestation of the atherosclerotic process. Systemic endothelial dysfunction is an early sign of the atherosclerotic process and can be assessed by ultrasonography of the brachial artery.

METHODS:

A total of 102 in-hospital patients (76 men; mean age 63.5 +/- 9.7 years) referred to the stress echocardiography laboratory underwent: 1) transthoracic echocardiography, with specific assessment of AVS (thickened valve leaflets with a transaortic flow velocity <2.5 m/s); 2) stress echocardiography; 3) coronary angiography, with evaluation of the Duke score (from 0 [normal] to 100 [most severe disease]); and 4) an endothelial function study, with assessment of endothelium-dependent, post-ischemic, flow-mediated dilation (FMD).

RESULTS:

Aortic valve sclerosis was present in 35 patients (group I) and absent in 67 (group II). Groups I and II were similar in terms of the frequency of stress-induced wall motion abnormalities (35.3% vs. 19.4%, p = NS) and the angiographic Duke score (33.8 +/- 28.6 vs. 35.2 +/- 29.1, p = NS). Patients with AVS showed a markedly lower FMD than those without AVS (2.2 +/- 3.5% vs. 5.3 +/- 5.3%, p < 0.01). On multivariate analysis, only FMD was highly predictive of AVS, with an odds ratio of 1.18 for each percent decrease in FMD (95% confidence interval 1.05 to 1.32; p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Aortic valve stenosis is associated with systemic endothelial dysfunction. This observation may provide a mechanistic insight into the emerging association between AVS and cardiovascular events.

PMID:
12570956
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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