High Prevalence of Severe Aortic Stenosis in Low-Flow State Associated With Atrial Fibrillation

Said Alsidawi, Sana Khan, Sorin V. Pislaru, Jeremy J. Thaden, Edward A. El-Am, Christopher G. Scott, Kareem Morant, Didem Oguz, Sushil A. Luis, Ratnasari Padang, Colleen E. Lane, Robert B. McCully, Patricia A. Pellikka, Jae K. Oh, Vuyisile T. Nkomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a low-flow state and may underestimate aortic stenosis (AS) severity. Single-high Doppler signals (HS) consistent with severe AS (peak velocity ≥4 m/s or mean gradient ≥40 mm Hg) are averaged down in current practice. The objective for the study was to determine the significance of HS in AF low-gradient AS (LGAS). Methods: One thousand five hundred forty-one patients with aortic valve area ≤1 cm2and left ventricular ejection fraction ≥50% were identified and classified as high-gradient AS (HGAS) (≥40 mm Hg) and LGAS (<40 mm Hg), and AF versus sinus rhythm (SR). Available computed tomography aortic valve calcium scores (AVCS) were retrieved from the medical record. Outcomes were assessed. Results: Mean age was 76±11 years, female 47%. Mean gradient was 51±12 in SR-HGAS, 48±10 in AF-HGAS, 31±5 in SR-LGAS, and 29±7 mm Hg in AF-LGAS, all P≤0.001 versus SR-HGAS; HS were present in 33% of AF-LGAS. AVCS were available in 34%. Compared with SR-HGAS (2409 arbitrary units; interquartile range, 1581-3462) AVCS were higher in AF-HGAS (2991 arbitrary units; IQR1978-4229, P=0.001), not different in AF-LGAS (2399 arbitrary units; IQR1817-2810, P=0.47), and lower in SR-LGAS (1593 arbitrary units; IQR945-1832, P<0.001); AVCS in AF-LGAS were higher when HS were present (P=0.048). Compared with SR-HGAS, the age-, sex-, comorbidity index-, and time-dependent aortic valve replacement-adjusted mortality risk was higher in AF-HGAS (hazard ratio=1.82 [1.40-2.36], P<0.001) and AF-LGAS with HS (hazard ratio=1.54 [1.04-2.26], P=0.03) but not different in AF-LGAS without HS or SR-LGAS (both P=not significant). Conclusions: Severe AS was common in AF-LGAS. AVCS in AF-LGAS were not different from SR-HGAS. AVCS were higher and mortality worse in AF-LGAS when HS were present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E012453
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • aortic stenosis
  • atrial fibrillation
  • comorbidity
  • medical record
  • tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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