Morristown Medical Center Cardiologist Authors Landmark Study That May Help Better Predict Survival after Heart Valve Replacement in Patients with Aortic Stenosis

“While many times this means recommending a valve replacement, this study demonstrates that the extent and level of cardiac damage should be a critical deciding factor.”

A new study published in the European Heart Journal outlines a different way for cardiologists to determine which patients with aortic stenosis (AS)—a narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart that keeps it from opening fully—are most likely to be alive one year after a heart valve replacement procedure. Dr. Philippe Genereux, an interventional cardiologist and Co-Director of the Structural Heart Program at the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center, served as the paper’s primary (lead) author.

Under current guidelines, cardiologists considering a heart valve replacement for patients with AS use cardiac imaging to assess the narrowing of the valve, valve function, co-morbidities (chronic conditions), and other risk factors as determined by a patient’s Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) risk calculator score. The new study suggests that classifying patients differently—with a stronger emphasis on the extent of cardiac damage before valve replacement— predicts which patients will survive one year later.

The study—Staging Classification of Aortic Stenosis based on the Extent of Cardiac Damage—is similar to the staging classification used with patients with cancer, where a lower stage indicates less disease, and showed that for each stage of cardiac damage, the risk of death increased by about 45 percent.

Stages were defined as:

  •     Stage 0 (no cardiac damage)
  •     Stage 1 (left ventricular damage)
  •     Stage 2 (left atrial and mitral valve damage)
  •     Stage 3 (pulmonary vasculature and tricuspid…

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