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Influence of Aortic Valve Calcium on Outcome in Patients Undergoing Peripheral Vascular Surgery

      Vascular surgery patients are at increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events because of silent coronary artery disease and an increased propensity for left ventricular dysfunction. The Revised Cardiac Risk Index is commonly used for preoperative risk stratification. Aortic valve calcium is associated with cardiovascular mortality in the general population. The present study evaluated the prognostic implications of aortic valve calcium on 30-day postoperative and long-term outcomes in vascular surgery patients. Echocardiographic aortic valve evaluation was completed in 1,172 vascular surgery patients. Aortic valve sclerosis was defined by the presence of thickening and/or calcium of ≥1 cusps of a tricuspid aortic valve not inducing stenosis (i.e., with a maximal velocity at continuous Doppler of <2.5 m/s). Stenosis was defined as a maximum velocity of >2.5 m/s. Troponin-T measurements and electrocardiograms were performed routinely after surgery. The study end points were the composite of postoperative cardiovascular events and long-term mortality. Aortic valve sclerosis was present in 416 patients (36%), and aortic valve stenosis was present in 30 patients (3%). After multivariate regression analyses adjusted for age, gender, Revised Cardiac Risk Index, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and medication use, aortic valve sclerosis was not associated with either the postoperative or long-term outcomes. In contrast, aortic valve stenosis was associated with a greater postoperative and long-term event rate (odds ratio 3.9, 95% confidence interval 1.7 to 8.7; and hazard ratio 2.1, 95% confidence interval 1.2 to 3.7, respectively). In conclusion, the present study has shown that aortic valve calcium is common in vascular surgery patients. Its presence is associated with negative postoperative and long-term outcomes.
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