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Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2013 Feb;16(2):116-22. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivs461. Epub 2012 Nov 11.

Cognitive function after transapical aortic valve implantation: a single-centre study with 3-month follow-up.

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Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, West German Heart Center Essen, Essen, Germany.



Reports on adverse neurological events following transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) have focused on strokes, while more subtle postoperative cognitive decline has not yet been systematically investigated. In this study, we prospectively examined neurological and cognitive outcomes in patients undergoing transapical (TA) and surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR).


A total of 64 patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis were investigated between January 2008 and July 2009. Clinical neurological examination and comprehensive neuropsychological testing were performed before and after the procedure, at discharge and at 3-month follow-up. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) was applied to detect morphological brain injury.


TA-TAVI patients (n = 27) were older and at higher surgical risk compared with surgical AVR patients (n = 37; mean age 82.2 ± 4.7 vs 67.5 ± 8.9 years; log EuroSCORE 36.4 ± 13.2 vs 2.6 ± 8.5%, both P <0.001). There was one stroke in each group (3.7 vs 2.7%, P = 0.49), both classified as embolic based on imaging characteristics. After TA-TAVI, cognitive tests showed no decline during follow-up, while, after AVR, 7 of 11 tests showed a decline early after surgery. Similarly, with-in patient analysis showed that the rate of individuals with clinically relevant cognitive decline was increased early after AVR (TA-TAVI vs AVR: 18 vs 46% at discharge [P = 0.03]; 28 vs 6% at 3 months [P = 0.04]). New focal ischaemic cerebral lesions were detected on DW-MRI in 58% (7 of 12) of patients after TA-TAVI vs 34% (12 of 35) after AVR (P = 0.13). The number of brain lesions per patient and cumulative embolic load per patient were similar between groups. An association between postoperative cerebral ischaemia and cognitive dysfunction was not found (odds ratio 2.37, 95% confidence interval 0.05-113.75, P = 0.66).


Cognitive function was only mildly impaired after TA-TAVI when compared with a marked, albeit transient, decline after surgical AVR. Focal embolic brain injury tended to occur more frequently after TA-TAVI, but this was not related to cognitive decline during the 3-month follow-up.

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