Eur J Clin Invest 2011; 41 (11): 1172–1179
Background Experimental and clinical studies have suggested that inhibitors of the renin angiotensin system (RAS) might be useful to slow the progression of valvular calcification in patients with aortic stenosis (AS).
Objectives The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationships between the weight and tissue remodelling score of stenotic aortic valves explanted at the time of valve replacement surgery and to determine the effect of medications including angiotensin II receptor type I blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors on these variables.
Methods Aortic valve and blood plasma were collected in 208 patients with AS (mean age: 69 ± 9) who underwent aortic valve replacement. Valves were weighed and the degree of valve tissue remodelling was assessed using a modified scoring system from Warren (Score: 1–4). Also, the 0-cresolphtalein complexone method was used to measure the amount of calcium within the valve cusps.
Results The mean weight of aortic valves was higher in men than in women (2·83 ± 0·09 vs. 1·91 ± 0·09 g, P < 0·0001), in patients with bicuspid vs. tricuspid valves (3·21 ± 0·15 vs. 2·23 ± 0·07 g, P < 0·0001), and in patients with higher remodelling score (score 2: 1·86 ± 0·19 g; score 3: 2·08 ± 0·12 g; score 4: 3·08 ± 0·1 g, P < 0·0001). The remodelling score was higher in men (3·35 ± 0·05 vs. 2·94 ± 0·07, P < 0·0001) and in bicuspid valves (3·38 ± 0·07 vs. 3·14 ± 0·05, P = 0·006). Both valve weight (r = 0·44, P < 0·0001) and remodelling score (r = 0·23, P = 0·002) correlated with calcium content within the aortic valve. Patients under ARBs medication (n = 47, 22·6%) had lower aortic valve weights (2·14 ± 0·13 g vs. 2·63 ± 0·09 g, P = 0·001) and remodelling scores (3·01 ± 0·09 vs. 3·26 ± 0·04, P = 0·009). On multivariate analyses, ARBs were significantly associated with a lower aortic valve remodelling score (P = 0·04) and weight (P = 0·02).
Conclusions ARBs were associated with lower aortic valve weight and less pronounced tissue remodelling. Further studies are needed to determine if ARBs could be used as a therapeutic avenue in AS.