Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the characteristics, predictors, evolution, and neurocognitive effects of silent cerebral ischemic lesions (SCILs). Background: Most patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) develop SCILs detectable on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The natural history and clinical relevance of SCILs are not well established. Methods: Cerebral MRI was performed within 7 days before TAVR to assess baseline status and age-related white matter change score. MRI was repeated post-operatively to assess the occurrence, location, number, and dimensions of SCILs. Patients developing SCILs underwent a third MRI examination at 3- to 5-month follow-up. A neurocognitive evaluation was performed before TAVR, at discharge, and at 3-month follow-up. Results: Of the 117 patients enrolled, 96 underwent post-procedural MRI; SCILs were observed in 76% of patients, distributed in all vascular territories, with a median number of 2 lesions, a median diameter of 4.5 mm, and a median total volume of 140 mm3. Independent predictors of SCIL occurrence were higher baseline age-related white matter change score and the use of self-expanding or mechanically expanded bioprostheses. Among 47 patients who underwent follow-up MRI, only 26.7% of post-procedural SCILs evolved into gliotic scar. SCIL occurrence was associated with a more pronounced transient neurocognitive decline early after TAVR and with lower recovery at follow-up. Conclusions: SCILs occur in the vast majority of patients undergoing TAVR and are predicted by more diffuse white matter damage at baseline and by the use of non-balloon-expandable prostheses. Although most SCILs disappear within months, their occurrence has a limited but significant impact on neurocognitive function.
- cerebral magnetic resonance imaging
- neurocognitive function
- silent cerebral ischemic lesions
- transcatheter aortic valve replacement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine