Abstract / Description of output
Aortic stenosis is characterized both by progressive valve narrowing and the left ventricular remodeling response that ensues. The only effective treatment is aortic valve replacement, which is usually recommended in patients with severe stenosis and evidence of left ventricular decompensation. At present, left ventricular decompensation is most frequently identified by the development of typical symptoms or a marked reduction in left ventricular ejection fraction <50%. However, there is growing interest in using the assessment of myocardial fibrosis as an earlier and more objective marker of left ventricular decompensation, particularly in asymptomatic patients, where guidelines currently rely on non-randomized data and expert consensus. Myocardial fibrosis has major functional consequences, is the key pathological process driving left ventricular decompensation and can be divided into two categories. Replacement fibrosis is irreversible and identified using late gadolinium enhancement on cardiac magnetic resonance. Diffuse fibrosis occurs earlier, is potentially reversible and can be quantified with cardiac magnetic resonance T1 mapping techniques. There is a substantial body of observational data in this field, but there is now a need for randomized clinical trials of myocardial imaging in aortic stenosis to optimize patient management. This review will discuss the role that myocardial fibrosis plays in aortic stenosis, how it can be imaged and how these approaches might be used to track myocardial health and improve the timing of aortic valve replacement.