Increased aorto-mitral curtain thickness independently predicts mortality in patients with radiation-associated cardiac disease undergoing cardiac surgery

Milind Y. Desai, Willis Wu, Ahmad Masri, Zoran B. Popovic, Shikhar Agarwal, Nicholas G. Smedira, Bruce W. Lytle, Brian P. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background Thoracic radiation leads to radiation-associated cardiac disease (RACD), associated with substantial cardiac morbidity and mortality, often requiring complex cardiothoracic surgery. In patients with RACD, along with valvular lesions, the aorto-mitral curtain (AMC, junction between base of anterior mitral leaflet and aortic root) thickness is increased on transthoracic echocardiography. We sought to identify clinical and transthoracic echocardiography predictors of long-term mortality in patients with RACD. Methods We studied 173 patients with RACD (75% women, 63 ± 14 years, 53% with breast cancer, 27% with Hodgkin lymphoma; mean time from radiation, 18 ± 12 years), who underwent cardiothoracic surgery (26% redo) between 2000 and 2003. Clinical, transthoracic echocardiography (along with AMC), and surgical variables were recorded. Preoperative EuroSCORE and all-cause mortality were recorded. Results Mean left ventricular ejection fraction, right systolic ventricular pressure, and AMC thickness were 0.49 ± 0.13, 41 ± 15 mm Hg, and 0.54 ± 0.2 cm, respectively. Fifty-one percent of patients had II+ mitral regurgitation or greater, 29% patients had II+ aortic regurgitation or greater, 23% patients had severe aortic stenosis, and 34% patients had II+ tricuspid regurgitation or greater. In 7.6 ± 3 years of follow-up, there were 95 (55%) deaths, with a 30-day mortality rate of only 7 (4%). Absence of β-blockers (hazard ratio, 0.49; 95% confidence interval, 0.31 to 0.79), aspirin (hazard ratio, 0.53; 95% confidence interval, 0.33 to 0.84), higher EuroSCORE (hazard ratio, 1.11; 95% confidence interval, 1.02 to 1.21), and greater AMC thickness (hazard ratio, 5.75; 95% confidence interval, 1.57 to 21.03; all p < 0.01) independently predicted mortality. Aorto-mitral curtain thickness of at least 0.6 cm was associated with significantly increased mortality. Conclusions Patients with RACD undergoing cardiothoracic surgery have high long-term mortality, which is independently predicted by AMC thickness, a higher preoperative risk score, and lack of cardioprotective medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1348-1355
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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