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Risk of Patients With Severe Aortic Stenosis Undergoing Noncardiac Surgery

      Abstract

      Aortic stenosis (AS) is a major risk factor for perioperative cardiac events in patients undergoing noncardiac surgery. We previously showed that selected patients with AS who were not candidates for, or refused, aortic valve replacement could undergo noncardiac surgery with acceptable risk. We extended our previous experience over a subsequent 5-year period by retrospectively analyzing the perioperative course of all patients with severe AS (aortic valve area index <0.5 cm2/m2 or mean gradient >50 mm Hg), determined with Doppler echocardiography or cardiac catheterization, who underwent noncardiac surgery. Nineteen patients underwent 28 surgical procedures: 22 elective and 6 emergency. The types of these procedures were 12 orthopedic, 6 intraabdominal, 4 vascular, 4 urologic, 1 otolaryngologic, and 1 thoracic. Mean age was 75 ± 8 years. Of the 19 patients, 16 (84%) had ≥1 symptom: dyspnea, angina, syncope, or presyncope. Mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 61 ± 11%. The type of anesthesia was general in 26 procedures and continuous spinal in 2. Intraarterial monitoring of blood pressure was used in 20 of the 28 surgical procedures. Intraoperative hypotensive events were treated promptly, primarily with phenylephrine. In all cases the anesthesia team was aware of the severity of the AS and integrated this into the anesthetic plan. Two patients (elective operation in 1 and emergency in 1) had complicated postoperative courses and died. There were no other intraoperative or postoperative events in any of the other patients. Although aortic valve replacement remains the primary treatment for patients with severe AS, selected patients with severe AS, who are otherwise not candidates for aortic valve replacement, can undergo noncardiac surgery with acceptable risk when appropriate intraoperative and postoperative management is used.
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