What are the morbidity and mortality of aortic regurgitation (AR)?

Updated: Nov 19, 2018
  • Author: Stanley S Wang, JD, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Severe acute AR carries a very high short-term rate of morbidity and mortality owing to the imposition of a greatly increased regurgitant volume upon a relatively noncompliant LV. Increased LV end-diastolic pressure leads to elevated left atrial and pulmonary pressures with resulting pulmonary edema, as well as decreased coronary perfusion gradients that potentially can cause myocardial ischemia and even sudden cardiac death. In most cases, early (if not emergent) surgical intervention is warranted.

Severe chronic AR tends to follow a more gradual clinical course. This is typically characterized initially by a long, relatively asymptomatic period. However, once symptoms ensue, the patient's clinical status may deteriorate relatively rapidly. Thus, current guidelines recommend surgical intervention before symptoms develop, usually based on echocardiographic parameters.

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