The main limitation of bioprosthetic valves is their limited durability, which exposes the patient to the risk of aortic valve reintervention. Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is considered a reasonable alternative to surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) in patients with intermediate or high surgical risk. TAVI is now rapidly expanding towards the lower risk populations. Although the results of midterm durability of the transcatheter bioprostheses are encouraging, their long-term durability remains largely unknown. The objective of this review article is to present the definition, mechanisms, incidence, outcome and management of structural valve deterioration of aortic bioprostheses with specific emphasis on TAVI. The structural valve deterioration can be categorised into three stages: stage 1: morphological abnormalities (fibrocalcific remodelling and tear) of bioprosthesis valve leaflets without hemodynamic valve deterioration; stage 2: morphological abnormalities and moderate hemodynamic deterioration (increase in gradient and/or new onset of transvalvular regurgitation); and stage 3: morphological abnormalities and severe hemodynamic deterioration. Several specifics inherent to the TAVI including valve oversizing, manipulation, delivery, positioning and deployment may cause injuries to the valve leaflets and increase leaflet mechanical stress, which may limit the long-term durability of transcatheter bioprostheses. The selection of the type of aortic valve replacement and bioprosthesis should thus take into account the ratio between the demonstrated durability of the bioprostheses versus the life expectancy of the patient. Pending the publication of robust data on long-term durability of transcatheter bioprostheses, it appears reasonable to select SAVR with a bioprosthesis model that has well-established long-term durability in patients with low surgical risk and long life expectancy.
- aortic stenosis
- aortic regurgitation
- prosthetic heart valves
- cardiac computer tomographic (CT) imaging
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