De Biase N; (Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Italy.)
Mazzola M; Del Punta L; Di Fiore V;De Carlo M; Giannini C; Costa G; Paneni F; Mengozzi A; Nesti L; Gargani L; Masi S; Pugliese NR;
European journal of heart failure [Eur J Heart Fail] 2023 Sep 01.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2023 Sep 01.
Aims: Degenerative aortic valve stenosis with preserved ejection fraction (ASpEF) and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) display intriguing similarities. This study aimed to provide a non-invasive, comparative analysis of ASpEF versus HFpEF at rest and during exercise.
Methods and Results: We prospectively enrolled 148 patients with HFpEF and 150 patients with degenerative moderate-to-severe ASpEF, together with 66 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. All subjects received a comprehensive evaluation at rest and 351/364 (96%) performed a combined cardiopulmonary exercise stress echocardiography test. Patients with ASpEF eligible for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (n = 125) also performed cardiac computed tomography (CT). HFpEF and ASpEF patients showed similar demographic distribution and biohumoral profiles. Most patients with ASpEF (134/150, 89%) had severe high-gradient aortic stenosis; 6/150 (4%) had normal-flow, low-gradient ASpEF, while 10/150 (7%) had low-flow, low-gradient ASpEF. Both patient groups displayed significantly lower peak oxygen consumption (VO 2 ), peak cardiac output, and peak arteriovenous oxygen difference compared to controls (all p < 0.01). ASpEF patients showed several extravalvular abnormalities at rest and during exercise, similar to HFpEF (all p < 0.01 vs. controls). Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) thickness was significantly greater in ASpEF than HFpEF and was inversely correlated with peak VO 2 in all groups. In ASpEF, EAT was directly related to echocardiography-derived disease severity and CT-derived aortic valve calcium burden.
Conclusion: Functional capacity is similarly impaired in ASpEF and HFpEF due to both peripheral and central components. Further investigation is warranted to determine whether extravalvular alterations may affect disease progression and prognosis in ASpEF even after valve intervention, which could support the concept of ASpEF as a specific sub-phenotype of HFpEF.