International journal of cardiology

Rationale and design of GISSI OUTLIERS VAR Study in bicuspid aortic valve patients: prospective longitudinal, multicenter study to investigate correlation between surgical, echo distinctive features, histologic and genetic findings in phenotypically homogeneous outlier cases.

PMID 26197404


Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is the most common congenital heart disorder, affecting up to 2% of the population. Involvement of aortic root and ascending aorta (aneurysm or, eventually, dissection) is frequent in patients with pathologic or normal functioning BAV. Unfortunately, there are no well-known correlations between valvular and vascular diseases. In VAR protocol, with a new strategy of research, we analysemultiple aspects of BAV disease through correlation between surgical, echo, histologic and genetic findings in phenotypically homogeneous outlier cases. VAR protocol is a prospective, longitudinal, multicenter study. It observes 4 homogeneous small groups of BAV surgical patients (15 patients each): isolated aortic regurgitation, isolated ascending aortic aneurysm, aortic regurgitation associated with aortic aneurysm, isolated aortic stenosis in older patients (>60years). Echo analysis is extended to first-degree relatives and, in case of BAV, genetic test is performed. Patients and relatives are enrolled in 10 cardiac surgery/cardiologic centers throughout Italy. The aim of the study is to identify predictors of favorable or unfavorable evolution of BAV in terms of valvular dysfunction and/or aortic aneurysm. Correlations between different features could help in identification of various BAV risk groups, rationalizing follow-up and treatment.