Multimodal imaging of aortic annulus and root geometry after valve sparing root reconstruction
Background: Controversy exists regarding the optimal annular stabilization technique following valve sparing aortic root reconstruction (VSRR) with no comprehensive imaging data to evaluate the natural history of aortic root graft geometry, aortic valve competency and patient prognosis post-reconstruction.
Methods: Between 2008–2017, 70 consecutive patients (mean age 56.4±16.4 years, 19.7% females) underwent VSRR. All patients were prospectively evaluated annually with clinical follow-up, echocardiography and CT imaging. Patients were assessed for survival, freedom from reoperation, degree of regurgitation, New York Heart Association (NYHA) status and graft complications and followed up to nine years post-operatively (mean 36±21 months).
Results: The largest increase of the aortic annulus diameter observed during the surveillance period was 2.64%±5.4% which occurred between the second and third years of follow-up and the aortic sinuses, sinotubular junction and ascending aorta all remained relatively stable based on annual CT imaging. Echocardiographic data showed far more variability in measurements at each annual post-operative visit with far less precision compared to the CT measurements taken at the same time. Due to the large variability and greater standard deviations, no significant difference was detected between the more precise CT measurements and those from the echocardiogram images. The overall survival rate was 94.3% (66 patients) at one year. Freedom from reoperation was 98.6% (69 patients). Throughout the entire duration of follow-up, aortic insufficiency was identified as 0 in 46 (65.7%), 1+ in 19 (27.1%), 2+ in 4 (5.7%), 3+ in 0 (0%) and 4+ in 1 (1.4%). Mean NYHA status was 1.1±0.3 at most recent follow-up for all patients. CT evidence showed 97.0% (64 patients) freedom from graft complication including: endocarditis, thrombosis, embolism, aneurysm, pseudoaneurysm, dehiscence, dissection and kinking.
Conclusions: The annual imaging data presented here demonstrates stability of the Dacron aortic annuloplasty reconstruction over time, without the need for internal or external annular stabilization. CT imaging proved to be far more reliable than echocardiographic images, however given the stability, annual CT imaging is of little benefit. This is the first prospective study to compare echocardiographic, CT and clinical data following VSRR.