The aim of the present study was to assess the association between invasive PWV (pulse wave velocity), serum levels of MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases) and the echocardiographic severity and calcification score of degenerative AS (aortic stenosis). We enrolled 30 patients (16 males; age, 61.3 ± 8.2 years) diagnosed with degenerative AS and an additional 30 age- and sex-matched control patients. Invasive PWV methods with a pigtail catheter and double-channel recording were performed in both groups in our catheterization laboratory. We scored the severity of calcification at the AV (aortic valve) during two-dimensional echocardiography. The association between the trans-valvular pressure gradient, the severity of calcification of the AV and the value of PWV were analysed. We also analysed the serum levels of MMP-9, MMP-3 and TIMP-1 (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1) in these patients. In the group with degenerative AS, mean AV pressure gradients (56.0 compared with 9.5 mmHg; P < 0.001) and calcified AV scoring (3.3 ± 1.2 compared with 2.1 ± 0.9; P < 0.001) were higher than in the control group. In addition, PWV was faster in the group with degenerative AS (15.5 ± 3.8 compared with 8.0 ± 2.7 m/s; P = 0.001). After being adjusted for age, sex, mean blood pressure and left ventricular function, both the AV pressure gradient and the severity of calcification were strongly correlated with PWV (R = 0.706, P < 0.0001, and R = 0.561, P = 0.03 respectively). In addition, the serum levels of MMP-9, MMP-3 and TIMP-1 were all significantly higher and correlated with PWV in the group with AS (all P < 0.05). With higher serum levels of MMPs and their inhibitors, we found that this invasive measurement of PWV was associated strongly with the pressure gradient and calcification of AV. More advanced degenerative changes in AV was probably associated with more severe aortic arteriosclerosis.
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