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Keywords:

  • aortic valve;
  • catheterization;
  • cerebrovascular disease;
  • stroke

Background

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation is a novel therapeutic option for patients at high risk for surgical heart valve replacement that carries a risk for periprocedural stroke.

Patients and methods

Consecutive patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve implantation with the self-expandable Medtronic-Corevalve Revalving system were included in a single-centre prospective database. Strokes complicating transcatheter aortic valve implantation in the first five-days following the procedure were documented, and the differences between patients with and without stroke were studied.

Results

Seventy-two patients (32 men, mean age 80·5 ± 6·2) underwent transcatheter aortic valve implantation from September 2008 to April 2011. Of these, eight (11%) had focal neurological deficits in the periprocedural period (three transient ischaemic attacks, five strokes of which three were minor, one moderate, and one major). Patients with stroke/transient ischaemic attacks did not differ from those without cerebral ischaemia in baseline criteria or procedural variables. Six of the events were believed to be embolic resulting from dislodgement of calcific material from the aortic valve, and one transient ischaemic attack was secondary to hypoperfusion during severe bradycardia. One patient with basilar occlusion died, but the remaining six patients survived and all had a modified Rankin score ≤2 at 90 days. None of the patients had a recurrent stroke during follow-up.

Discussion

Periprocedural cerebral ischaemia following transcatheter aortic valve implantation is not uncommon, but most patients have good outcomes. There was no particular pre-transcatheter aortic valve implantation or procedural risk factor profile that increased the risk for periprocedural stroke. Further studies are warranted to examine whether patients that are at higher risk for developing stroke after transcatheter aortic valve implantation can be identified.