Patient screening for early detection of aortic stenosis (AS)—review of current practice and future perspectives
In Europe, approximately one million people over 75 years suffer from severe aortic stenosis (AS), one of the most serious and most common valve diseases, and this disease burden is increasing with the aging population. A diagnosis of severe symptomatic AS is associated with an average life expectancy of 2–3 years and necessitates a timely valve intervention. Guidelines for valve replacement therapy have been established but only a proportion of patients with symptomatic AS actually receive this life-saving treatment. The decision for valve intervention in asymptomatic patients with severe AS is often more challenging and likely results in fewer patients receiving treatment in comparison to their symptomatic counterparts. This article reviews the epidemiology and clinical manifestations of AS, the associated economic burden of AS to the healthcare system, the diagnosis of AS and the possible mechanisms for the introduction of routine screening in elderly patients. Elderly patients typically visit healthcare providers more frequently than younger patients, thereby providing increased opportunities for ad hoc AS screening and this, along with raising patient awareness of the symptoms of AS, has the potential to result in the earlier diagnosis and treatment of AS and increased patient survival.