The natural history of adults with asymptomatic, hemodynamically significant aortic stenosis

Patricia A. Pellikka, Rick A. Nishimura, Kent R. Bailey, A. Jamil Tajik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

270 Scopus citations


The natural history of asymptomatic, hemodynamically significant, valvular aortic stenosis in adults was documented. Of 471 patients with aortic stenosis identified by Doppler echocardiography (peak systolic flow velocity ≥4 m/s) from January 1994 through August 1987, 143 were asymptomatic and had isolated valvular aortic stenosis. Thirty patients underwent aortic valve intervention within 3 months (group 1); the remaining 113 patients did not have an intervention within 3 months (group 2). Follow-up information was available for all patients; the mean duration of follow-up study was 20 months (range 6 to 48). Three cardiac events occurred in the 30 group 1 patients after operation (two deaths, one reoperation). Among the 113 group 2 patients, three had cardiac death presumed to be a result of the aortic stenosis; all three developed symptoms at least 3 months before death. The actuarial probability of remaining free of symptoms of angina, dyspnea or syncope for group 2 was 86% at 1 year and 62% at 2 years. For this group, the 1 and 2 year probabilities of remaining free of cardiac events, including aortic valve intervention or cardiac death, were 93% and 74%, respectively. Of all clinical and echocardiographic variables (group 2), only Doppler flow velocity (p = 0.004) and ejection fraction (p = 0.01) were independent predictors of subsequent cardiac events. Among the 44 patients (groups 1 and 2) with a flow velocity ≥4.5 m/s, the relative risk of sustaining a cardiac event (by Cox regression analysis) was 4.9 (p = 0.004). Patients with asymptomatic, hemodynamically significant aortic stenosis are at significant risk for cardiac events within 2 years. However, during the time they remain asymptomatic, the risk of sudden death is low. The asymptomatic patient may be treated medically but requires careful follow-up evaluation for the development of symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1012-1017
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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