Percutaneous balloon aortic valvuloplasty in high-risk elderly patients


Milwaukee Heart Institute of Sinai Samaritan Medical Center


From 1987 to mid-1994 we performed 16 percutaneous balloon aortic valvuloplasties. All patients (mean age 80 years; 53% female, 47% male) had significant congestive heart failure from aortic valve stenosis; the majority were categorized as New York Heart Association Class IV (shortness of breath at rest). Twelve patients were not surgical candidates; four patients refused surgery. After valvuloplasty, all patients became asymptomatic (NYHA Class I & II), the average preprocedure valvular gradient of 59 mm Hg decreased to 31 mm Hg, and valve area increased from 0.8 cm2 (0.3 cm2-0.98 cm2) to 1.3 cm2 (0.6 cm2-1.44 cm2). The only complications were two minor groin hematomas (2 patients). Within 6 months, 50% of the patients were symptomatic again; the overall survival rate was 23 months. We conclude that in the proper environment this procedure can be effective and safe--even in high-risk elderly patients. Although symptom improvement is transient, valvuloplasty provides a valuable opportunity to treat intercurrent medical conditions and possibly follow up with surgery.

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