Knowledge, attitudes, and practice patterns in surgical management of bicuspid aortopathy: A survey of 100 cardiac surgeons

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Objective Clinical practice guidelines have been established for surgical management of the aorta in bicuspid aortic valve disease. We hypothesized that surgeons' knowledge of and attitudes toward bicuspid aortic valve aortopathy influence their surgical approaches. Methods We surveyed cardiac surgeons to probe the knowledge of, attitudes toward, and surgical management of bicuspid aortopathy. A total of 100 Canadian adult cardiac surgeons participated. Results Fifty-two percent of surgeons believed that the mechanism underlying aortic dilation in those with bicuspid aortic valve was due to an inherent genetic abnormality of the aorta, whereas only 2% believed that altered valve-related processes were involved in this process. Only a minority (15%) believed that bicuspid valve leaflet fusion type is associated with a unique pattern of aortic dilatation aortic phenotype. Sixty-five percent of surgeons recommended echocardiographic screening of first-degree relatives of patients with bicuspid aortic valve. Most surgeons (61%) elected to replace the aorta when the diameter is 45 mm or greater at the time of valve surgery. Fifty-five percent of surgeons surveyed suggested that in the absence of concomitant valvular disease, they would recommend ascending aortic replacement at a threshold of 50 mm or greater. Approximately one third of surgeons suggested that they would elect to replace a mildly dilated ascending aorta (40 mm) at the time of valve surgery. The most common surgical approach (61%) for combined valve and aortic surgery was aortic valve replacement and supracoronary replacement of the ascending aorta, and only a minority suggested the use of deep hypothermic circulatory arrest and open distal anastomosis. More aggressive approaches were favored with greater surgeon experience, and when circulatory arrest was chosen, the majority (68%) suggested they would use antegrade cerebral perfusion. In the setting of aortic insufficiency and a dilated aorta, 42% of surgeons suggested that they would perform valve-sparing surgery. Of note, 40% of respondents used an index measure of aortic size to body surface area in addition to absolute aortic diameter in assessing the threshold for intervention. Conclusions This large survey uncovered significant gaps in the knowledge and attitudes of surgeons toward the diagnosis and management of bicuspid aortopathy, many of which were at odds with current guideline recommendations. Efforts to promote knowledge translation in this area are strongly encouraged. Copyright © 2013 by The American Association for Thoracic Surgery.




Verma, S., Yanagawa, B., Kalra, S., Ruel, M., Peterson, M. D., Yamashita, M. H., … Fedak, P. W. M. (2013). Knowledge, attitudes, and practice patterns in surgical management of bicuspid aortopathy: A survey of 100 cardiac surgeons. Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 146(5).

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