Impact of sex on the management and outcome of aortic stenosis patients

European Heart Journal, ehab242,  Published: 23 May 2021

The aim of this study was to assess the impact of sex on the management and outcome of patients according to aortic stenosis (AS) severity.

Sex differences in the management and outcome of AS are poorly understood.

Doppler echocardiography data of patients with at least mild-to-moderate AS [aortic valve area (AVA) ≤1.5 cm2 and peak jet velocity (VPeak) ≥2.5 m/s or mean gradient (MG) ≥25 mmHg] were prospectively collected between 2005 and 2015 and retrospectively analysed. Patients with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (<50%), or mitral or aortic regurgitation >mild were excluded.

Among 3632 patients, 42% were women. The mean indexed AVA (0.48 ± 0.17 cm2/m2), VPeak (3.74 ± 0.88 m/s), and MG (35.1 ± 18.2 mmHg) did not differ between sexes (all P ≥ 0.18). Women were older (72.9 ± 13.0 vs. 70.1 ± 11.8 years) and had more hypertension (75% vs. 70%; P = 0.0005) and less coronary artery disease (38% vs. 55%, P < 0.0001) compared to men. After inverse-propensity weighting (IPW), female sex was associated with higher mortality (IPW-HR: 1.91 [1.14–3.22]; P = 0.01) and less referral to valve intervention (competitive model IPW-HR: 0.88 [0.82–0.96]; P = 0.007) in the whole cohort. This excess mortality in women was blunted in concordant non-severe AS initially treated conservatively (IPW-HR = 1.03 [0.63–1.68]; P = 0.88) or in concordant severe AS initially treated by valve intervention (IPW-HR = 1.25 [0.71–2.21]; P = 0.43). Interestingly, the excess mortality in women was observed in discordant low-gradient AS patients (IPW-HR = 2.17 [1.19–3.95]; P = 0.01) where women were less referred to valve intervention (IPW-Sub-HR: 0.83 [0.73–0.95]; P = 0.009).

In this large series of patients, despite similar baseline hemodynamic AS severity, women were less referred to AVR and had higher mortality. This seemed mostly to occur in the patient subset with discordant markers of AS severity (i.e. low-gradient AS) where women were less referred to AVR.

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