Risk and Fate of Cerebral Embolism After Transfemoral Aortic Valve Implantation A Prospective Pilot Study With Diffusion-Weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was prospective investigation of silent and clinically apparent cerebral embolic events and neurological impairment after transfemoral aortic valve implantation (TAVI). Transfemoral aortic valve implantation is a novel therapeutic approach for multimorbid patients with severe aortic stenosis. We investigated peri-interventional cerebral embolism with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) and its relationship to clinical and serologic parameters of brain injury.

METHODS: Cerebral DW-MRI was performed before, directly and 3 months after TAVI with the current third-generation self-expanding Corevalve (Medtronic, Minneapolis, Minnesota) prosthesis. At the timepoints of the serial MRI studies, focal neurological impairment was assessed according to the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), and serum concentration of neuron-specific enolase (NSE), a marker of the volume of brain tissue involved in an ischemic event, were determined.

RESULTS: Thirty patients were enrolled; 22 completed the imaging protocol. Three patients (10%) had new neurological findings after TAVI, of whom only 1 (3.6%) had a permanent neurological impairment. Of the 22 TAVI patients with complete imaging data, 16 (72.7%) had 75 new cerebral lesions after TAVI presumed to be embolic. The NIHSS and NSE were not correlated with DW-MRI lesions.

CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of clinically silent peri-interventional cerebral embolic lesions after TAVI is high. However, in this cohort of 30 patients, the incidence of persistent neurological impairment was low. (Incidence and Severity of Silent and Apparent Cerebral Embolism After Conventional and Minimal-invasive Transfemoral Aortic Valve Replacement; NCT00883285). Sheldon Richardson Jersey

PMID: 20188503

Posted in Invasive Imaging and tagged , , , , , , .


  1. Interesting study! These are typically patients with advanced atherosclerotic disease burden, and known high mortality if untreated (see reference below). It would be critical to have a control group of matched patients with continued medical treatment.

    Characterization and outcome of patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis referred for percutaneous aortic valve replacement.
    Kapadia SR, Goel SS, Svensson L, et al.
    J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2009 Jun;137(6):1430-5.

  2. I agree with Dr. Schoenhagen! Some of the answers will be available from the PARTNER Trial.

  3. Transapical approach has been shown to have an extremely low stroke risk. Does bypassing catheter transit through the aorta turn out to be the main difference?

    In this recent post, the authors compared 100 patients undergoing TA-AVI versus conventional AVR. None of their patient’s s/p TA-AVI had a stroke versus 2 after conventional repair.

    Transapical Aortic Valve Implantation in 100 Consecutive Patients: Comparison to Propensity-Matched Conventional Aortic Valve Replacement. ()

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