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BMC Geriatr. 2010 Apr 1;10:17. doi: 10.1186/1471-2318-10-17.

Impact of valvular heart disease on activities of daily living of nonagenarians: the Leiden 85-plus study a population based study.

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Departments of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.



Data on the prevalence of valvular heart disease in very old individuals are scarce and based mostly on in-hospital series. In addition, the potential detrimental effect of valvular heart disease on the activities of daily living is unknown. The present study evaluated the prevalence of significant valvular heart disease and the impact of valvular heart disease on the activities of daily living in community dwelling nonagenarians. Nested within the Leiden 85-plus study, a population based follow-up study of the oldest old, a sample of 81 nonagenarians was recruited.


The left ventricular (LV) dimensions, function and the presence and severity of heart valvular disease were evaluated by echocardiography. Significant valvular heart disease included any mitral or aortic stenosis severity, moderate or severe mitral regurgitation, moderate or severe aortic regurgitation and moderate or severe tricuspid regurgitation. Activities of daily living were assessed using the Groningen Activity Restriction Scale (GARS).


LV cavity diameters (end-diastolic diameter 47 +/- 8 mm, end-systolic diameter 30 +/- 8 mm) and systolic LV function (LV ejection fraction 66 +/- 13%) were within normal for the majority of the participants. Significant valvular disease was present in 57 (70%) individuals, with mitral regurgitation and aortic regurgitation as the most frequent valve diseases (49% and 28% respectively). The GARS score between individuals with and without significant valvular heart disease was similar (36.2 +/- 9.2 vs. 34.4 +/- 13.2, p = 0.5).


Nonagenarian, outpatient individuals have a high prevalence of significant valvular heart disease. However, no relation was observed between the presence of significant valvular heart disease and the ability to perform activities of daily living.

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