Redefining “low risk”: Outcomes of surgical aortic valve replacement in low-risk patients in the transcatheter aortic valve replacement era

Cleveland Clinic Aortic Valve Center Collaborators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: Guidelines suggest aortic valve replacement (AVR) for low-risk asymptomatic patients. Indications for transcatheter AVR now include low-risk patients, making it imperative to understand state-of-the-art surgical AVR (SAVR) in this population. Therefore, we compared SAVR outcomes in low-risk patients with those expected from Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) models and assessed their intermediate-term survival. Methods: From January 2005 to January 2017, 3493 isolated SAVRs were performed in 3474 patients with STS predicted risk of mortality <4%. Observed operative mortality and composite major morbidity or mortality were compared with STS-expected outcomes according to calendar year of surgery. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors for these outcomes. Patients were followed for time-related mortality. Results: With 15 observed operative deaths (0.43%) compared with 55 expected (1.6%), the observed:expected ratio was 0.27 for mortality (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.14-0.42), stroke 0.65 (95% CI, 0.41-0.89), and reoperation 0.50 (95% CI, 0.42-0.60). Major morbidity or mortality steadily declined, with probabilities of 8.6%, 6.7%, and 5.2% in 2006, 2011, and 2016, respectively, while STS-expected risk remained at approximately 12%. Mitral valve regurgitation, ventricular hypertrophy, pulmonary, renal, and hepatic failure, coronary artery disease, and earlier surgery date were residual risk factors. Survival was 98%, 91%, and 82% at 1, 5, and 9 years, respectively, superior to that predicted for the US age-race-sex–matched population. Conclusions: STS risk models overestimate contemporary SAVR risk at a high-volume center, supporting efforts to create a more agile quality assessment program. SAVR in low-risk patients provides durable survival benefit, supporting early surgery and providing a benchmark for transcatheter AVR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-604.e3
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • predicted risk of mortality
  • surgical aortic valve replacement
  • transcatheter aortic valve replacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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