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Calcific aortic insufficiency—a review of 26 patients

American Heart Journal
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0002-8703(75)90075-7
  • Medicine


Abstract Twenty-six patients, 8.3 per cent of all patients with aortic valve disease, and 10.7 per cent of all patients with any degree of aortic insufficiency detected in our catheterization laboratory, had pure calcific aortic insufficiency (no associated stenosis). Nineteen (73 per cent) males and seven (27 per cent) females ranged in age from 25 to 75 years of age (mean 51). Twenty-three per cent were younger than 40. Sixteen (62 per cent) had rheumatic heart disease, one had luetic aortic valve disease, one had congenital bicuspid valve, and eight (31 per cent) had aortic insufficiency of undetermined etiology. Twenty-three patients (89 per cent) had an aortic systolic ejection murmur, and seven (28 per cent) had an aortic ejection click. Aortic valve calcification was detected by plain chest films in only four patients (16 per cent), and by routine image intensification fluoroscopy (before catheterization) in fifteen patients (68 per cent). The remaining 32 per cent had the calcification of the aortic valve detected during catheterization. Aortic valve calcification was severe in nine patients (35 per cent), moderate in eleven patients (42 per cent), and minimal in six patients (22 per cent). Aortic insufficiency was severe in twenty patients (77 per cent), moderate in five patients (19 per cent), and minimal in one patient (4 per cent). Nineteen patients (77 per cent) had reduced left ventricular contractility. Sixteen patients (67 per cent) had low cardiac index. Eighteen patients had normal coronary arteries and three patients had obstructive coronary artery disease. Aortic stenosis was misdiagnosed as the predominant lesion in fourteen patients (54 per cent)—prior to catheterization. This series demonstrates that all patients with calcified aortic valve disease and with ejection murmurs do not necessarily have aortic stenosis. Pure calcific aortic insufficiency is a distinct entity, more common than previously suspected.

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