To assess the time course and extent of regression of myocardial hypertrophy after removal of the inciting hemodynamic stress, 21 patients with either aortic stenosis or aortic insufficiency were studied preoperatively, after an intermediate period (1.6 ± 0.5 years), and late (8.1 ± 2.9 years) after aortic valve replacement, and results were compared with those in 11 control patients. After aortic valve replacement there was significant hemodynamic improvement, with a fall in the left ventricular end-diastolic volume index (164 ± 73 to 105 ± 35 ml/m2, p < .01), a fall in left heart filling pressure (19 ± 9 to 12 ± 5 mm Hg, p < .01), and maintenance of the cardiac index (3.3 ± 0.8 to 3.5 ± 0.8 liters/min/m2, NS) and left ventricular ejection fraction (60 ± 13% to 64 ± 10%, NS). By the late study the cardiac index (4.0 ± 0.6 liters/min/m2, p < .01) and left ventricular ejection fraction (66 ± 15%, p < .05) had further increased and were significantly greater than before surgery. For the group as a whole, the left ventricular muscle mass index fell 31% after surgery by the time of the intermediate postoperative study (174 ± 38 vs 120 ± 29 g/m2, p < .01), and a further 13% from the intermediate to the late study (105 ± 32 g/m2, p < .05). At the preoperative study left ventricular muscle mass index was greatest in those patients with aortic insufficiency (191 ± 36 g/m2) and greater in those with aortic stenosis (158 ± 33 g/m2) than in control subjects (85 ± 9 g/m2, p < .05). At the intermediate postoperative study left ventricular muscle mass index remained significantly higher in both those with preoperative aortic insufficiency (128 ± 29 g/m2) and those with stenosis (114 ± 27 g/m2) than in the control subjects (p < .01). By the time of the late postoperative study there were no longer any significant differences in left ventricular muscle mass index. Thus, the regression of myocardial hypertrophy is a process that occurs over many years after correction of the primary hemodynamic abnormality. As this process of myocardial remodeling occurs, continued improvement in cardiac function may occur, and the improvement occuring between the intermediate and late postoperative studies at a slight but constant afterload excess (inherent in the relative stenosis of the aortic prosthesis) suggests that the hypertrophied myocardium is operating at a reduced level compared with normal myocardium.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)