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Clinical Investigations: CARDIOLOGY |

Dobutamine Echocardiography in Patients With Aortic Stenosis and Left Ventricular Dysfunction*: Predicting Outcome as a Function of Management Strategy

Ehud Schwammenthal, MD; Zvi Vered, MD; Yaron Moshkowitz, MD; Babeth Rabinowitz, MD; Zvi Ziskind, MD; Aram K. Smolinski, MD; Micha S. Feinberg, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the From the Heart Institute (Drs. Schwammenthal, Vered, Rabinowitz, and Feinberg) and the Department of Cardiac Surgery (Drs. Moshkowitz, Ziskind, and Smolinski), Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel, and the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Correspondence to: Ehud Schwammenthal, MD, Heart Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer 52621, Israel; e-mail: sehud@post.tau.ac.il



Chest. 2001;119(6):1766-1777. doi:10.1378/chest.119.6.1766
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Study objective: To prospectively address the question whether the assessment of valvular hemodynamics and myocardial function during low-dose dobutamine infusion can guide decision making in patients with aortic stenosis and left ventricular (LV) dysfunction.

Patients and measurements: Twenty-four patients with aortic stenosis and LV dysfunction (mean ejection fraction, 28%; New York Heart Association class, II to IV) were studied by dobutamine echocardiography assessing mean pressure gradient, aortic valve area, and aortic valve resistance. Patients were prospectively divided into severe and nonsevere aortic stenosis groups according to the response of the valve area to the augmentation of systolic flow. The clinical decision was considered to be concordant with the results of dobutamine echocardiography, when patients with severe aortic stenosis and preserved contractile function were referred by a specialist for aortic valve replacement and when patients with nonsevere aortic stenosis were not. Patients were observed for up to 3 years.

Results: All eight patients with severe aortic stenosis who were referred for surgery survived and had good cardiovascular outcomes, and six of eight patients who were not initially referred for surgery had poor outcomes, including heart failure and sudden cardiac death. The eight patients with nonsevere aortic stenosis did comparatively well without valve replacement. Cardiac death or pulmonary edema occurred in 4 of 16 patients (25%) when the clinical decision was concordant with the results of the dobutamine echocardiogram and occurred in 6 of 8 patients (75%) when the clinical decision was discordant (p = 0.019 [χ2 test]).

Conclusion: Patients with aortic stenosis, LV dysfunction, and relatively low gradients have better outcomes when management decisions are based on the results of dobutamine echocardiograms. Those patients identified as having severe aortic stenosis and preserved contractile reserve by dobutamine echocardiography should undergo surgery, while patients identified as having nonsevere aortic stenosis can be managed conservatively.

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