Left ventricular myocardial structure in aortic valve disease before, intermediate, and late after aortic valve replacement.
Left ventricular biplane cineangiography, micromanometry, and endomyocardial biopsies were performed in 27 patients with aortic stenosis (AS) and in 17 patients with aortic insufficiency (AI). Twenty-three patients with AS and 15 with AI were restudied at an intermediate time (18 months after successful valve replacement), and nine patients with AS and six with AI were restudied late (70 and 62 months after surgery). Biopsy samples were evaluated for muscle fiber diameter, percent interstitial fibrosis, and volume fraction of myofibrils. In control biopsy samples obtained from five donor hearts at transplantation, these morphometric variables averaged 21.2 microns, 7.0%, and 57.2%, respectively. After surgery, mass determined by cineangiography decreased from 186 to 115 and 94 g/m2 in patients with AS and from 201 to 131 and 93 g/m2 in patients with AI. At the three studies, muscle fiber diameter was 30.9, 28.0, and 28.7 microns in patients with AS and was 31.4, 27.6, and 26.4 microns in patients with AI. Percent interstitial fibrosis was 18.2, 25.8, and 13.7% in patients with AS and was 20.4, 23.7, and 19.2% in patients with AI. Left ventricular fibrous content decreased from 34.2 to 29.8 and to 12.7 g/m2 in patients with AS and from 42.1 to 28.9 and to 18.9 g/m2 in patients with AI. Volume fraction of myofibrils was 57.7, 56.8, and 49.0% in patients with AS and was 56.8, 56.6 and 48.8% in patients with AI. Thus, the decrease of muscle mass determined by cineangiography at the intermediate time after valve replacement is mediated by regression of myocardial cellular hypertrophy in patients with AS and AI and in addition by a decrease of fibrous content in patients with AI. Late after surgery, left ventricular fibrous content also decreases in patients with AS. This late decrease associated with minor changes of end-diastolic volume may be important for improvement of increased diastolic myocardial stiffness. Even 6-7 years after valve replacement, incomplete regression of structural abnormalities of left ventricular hypertrophy still exists compared with the normal myocardium. The residually increased relative interstitial fibrosis and the small late postoperative decrease of volume fraction of myofibrils, associated with a prosthesis-related slight left ventricular pressure increase, are at the origin of a persistent systolic overload at the myofibrillar level.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association