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Circulation. 2010 Feb 23;121(7):870-8. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.855866.

Silent and apparent cerebral ischemia after percutaneous transfemoral aortic valve implantation: a diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging study.

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1
West German Heart Center Essen, Department of Cardiology, University Duisburg-Essen, Hufelandstrasse 55, 45122 Essen, Germany. Philipp.Kahlert@uk-essen.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The risk of stroke after transfemoral aortic valve implantation (TAVI) due to dislodgement and subsequent embolization of debris from aortic arch atheroma or from the calcified valve itself ranges between 2% and 10%. The rate of clinically silent cerebral ischemia is unknown but may be even higher.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Thirty-two patients who underwent TAVI with the use of a balloon-expandable (n=22) or self-expandable (n=10) stent valve prosthesis were included in this descriptive study and compared with a historical control group of 21 patients undergoing open surgical aortic valve replacement. Periprocedural apparent and silent cerebral ischemia was assessed by neurological testing and serial cerebral diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging at baseline, at 3.4 (2.5 to 4.4) days after the procedure, and at 3 months. TAVI was successful in all patients. After the procedure, new foci of restricted diffusion on cerebral diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging were found in 27 of 32 TAVI patients (84%) and were more frequent than after open surgery (10 of 21 patients [48%]; P=0.011). These lesions were usually multiple (1 to 19 per patient) and dispersed in both hemispheres in a pattern suggesting cerebral embolization. Volumes of these lesions were significantly smaller after TAVI than after surgery (77 [59 to 94] versus 224 [111 to 338] mm(3); P<0.001). There were neither measurable impairments of neurocognitive function nor apparent neurological events during the in-hospital period among TAVI patients, but there was 1 stroke (5%) in the surgical patient group. On 3-month follow-up diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, there were no new foci of restricted diffusion, and there was no residual signal change associated with the majority (80%) of the foci detected in the periprocedural period.

CONCLUSIONS:

Clinically silent new foci of restricted diffusion on cerebral magnetic resonance imaging were detected in almost all patients (84%) undergoing TAVI. Although typically multiple, these foci were not associated with apparent neurological events or measurable deterioration of neurocognitive function during 3-month follow-up. Further work needs to be directed to determine the clinical significance of these findings in a larger patient population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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