Visual Abstract

Background: After aortic valve replacement (AVR), suspected prosthetic valve dysfunction (mechanical or biological) may arise based on echocardiographic transvalvular velocities and gradients, leading to reoperative surgical intervention being considered. Our experience has found that 4-dimensional (space and time) image reconstruction of ECG-gated computed tomography, termed cine-CT, may be helpful in such cases. We review and illustrate our experience. Methods: Twenty-seven AVR patients operated previously by a single surgeon (who performs >100 AVRs/year) were referred for repeat evaluation of suspected aortic stenosis (AS) based on elevated transvalvular velocities and gradients. The patients were fully evaluated by cine-CT. Results: In all but 2 cases, the cine-CT strikingly and visually confirmed normal leaflet function and excursion, with no valve thrombosis, restriction by pannus, or obstruction by clot. In only 2 cases did cine-CT reveal decreased mechanical valve leaflet excursion. Repeat surgery was required in only 1 case while all other patients continued clinically without cardiac events. Conclusions: Echocardiography is an extraordinarily useful tool for the evaluation of prosthetic valve function. Increased pressure recovery beyond the valve and other factors may occasionally lead to exaggerated gradients. Cine-CT is emerging as an extremely valuable tool for further evaluation of suspected prosthetic valve AS. Our experience has been extremely helpful, as is shown in the dramatically reassuring images.

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