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Heterogeneous geographic distribution of patients with aortic valve stenosis: arguments for new aetiological hypothesis
  1. G Le Gal1,
  2. V Bertault1,
  3. E Bezon2,
  4. J-C Cornily1,
  5. J-A Barra2,
  6. J-J Blanc1
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, Brest University Hospital, Brest, France
  2. 2Department of Cardiac Surgery, Brest University Hospital
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Grégoire Le Gal
    Département de Cardiologie, Hôpital de la Cavale Blanche, Bd Tanguy Prigent, 29609 Brest cedex, France;

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Calcific aortic valve stenosis is by far the most common valve disease in developed countries.1 The first clinical symptoms usually appear in the late 60s. Prosthetic aortic valve replacement is the only effective treatment at present.2 The reasons for the occurrence of calcifications of the aortic cusps leading eventually after many years to aortic valve stenosis are unknown. Some risk factors, mainly those already recognised in vascular disease, have been found to be associated with aortic valve stenosis and are considered to cause the disease.3,4 However, these factors are totally non-specific and may be confounded with factors leading to other illnesses. Recently a genetic hypothesis has been proposed after observation of a few familial cases5 but remains largely challenged in the absence of gene determination. The aim of our study was to evaluate whether epidemiological data collected in a selected region of France could provide evidence in favour of this hypothesis.


The list of all patients who had undergone aortic valve replacement for calcific aortic valve stenosis in the cardiac surgery department of the Brest University Hospital between January 1996 and June 2003 was obtained from the central computerised registration of medical diagnosis and surgical procedures of the hospital, coded according to the International classification of diseases, 10th revision. This list was compared, and if necessary completed, with the diary registries of all the surgical interventions performed in the cardiac surgery department.

For each patient, the following data were collected: name, sex, date of surgery, date of birth, and social security number. The social security number is a 15 digit number allowing identification for sex, year and month of birth, and geographic origin (region and commune). France is administratively divided into 22 provinces, about 100 regions, and 36 000 communes. The commune is the …

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