Although the survival rate in asymptomatic patients with aortic stenosis is comparable to that in age- and sex-matched control patients, the average overall survival rate in symptomatic persons without aortic valve replacement is two to three years.
During the asymptomatic latent period, left ventricular hypertrophy and atrial augmentation of preload compensate for the increase in afterload caused by aortic stenosis.
As the disease worsens, these compensatory mechanisms become inadequate, leading to symptoms of heart failure, angina, or syncope.
Aortic valve replacement should be recommended in most patients with any of these symptoms accompanied by evidence of significant aortic stenosis on echocardiography.
Watchful waiting is recommended for most asymptomatic patients, including those with hemodynamically significant aortic stenosis.
Patients should be educated about symptoms and the importance of promptly reporting them to their physicians.
Serial Doppler echocardiography is recommended annually for severe aortic stenosis, every one or two years for moderate disease, and every three to five years for mild disease.
Cardiology referral is recommended for all patients with symptomatic aortic stenosis, those with severe aortic stenosis without apparent symptoms, and those with left ventricular dysfunction.
Many patients with asymptomatic aortic stenosis have concurrent cardiac conditions, such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and coronary artery disease, which should also be carefully managed.