Aortic root dilatation as a cause of isolated, severe aortic regurgitation. Prevalence, clinical and echocardiographic patterns, and relation to left ventricular
Aortic Valve Insufficiency
To evaluate the relation of aortic root dilatation to aortic regurgitation, we examined clinical, echocardiographic, and radionuclide cineangiographic findings in 102 patients with severe aortic regurgitation. Aortic root dilatation was the only apparent cause in 31 patients (30%), exceeding in prevalence any valvular cause, and was independently associated only with older age (p less than 0.001). Echocardiography showed dilatation to be either localized to the sinuses of Valsalva or to be generalized. At initial evaluation, patients with generalized dilatation had severer abnormalities of left ventricular size and function than those with localized or no dilatation. Aortic valves were subsequently replaced in more patients with generalized than localized dilatation during 28 +/- 17 month follow-up (9 of 15 patients compared with 2 of 15, p less than 0.03). Thus, idiopathic aortic root dilatation is the commonest definable cause of severe aortic regurgitation; aortic root dilatation is associated independently with age but not blood pressure; and generalized aortic root dilatation is associated with marked ventricular dilatation, hypertrophy, and dysfunction.