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Cholesterol Crystal Dissolution Rate of Serum Predicts Outcomes in Patients With Aortic Stenosis Undergoing Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement.

Journal of the American Heart Association

Authors: Baravan Al-Kassou, Lara Al-Kassou, Thorsten Mahn, Dieter Lütjohann, Jasmin Shamekhi, Nicola Willemsen, Sven Thomas Niepmann, Stephan Baldus, Malte Kelm, Georg Nickenig, Eicke Latz, Sebastian Zimmer

BACKGROUND: Aortic stenosis has pathophysiological similarities with atherosclerosis, including the deposition of cholesterol-containing lipoproteins. The resulting cholesterol crystals activate the NLRP3 (NOD-like receptor protein 3) inflammasome, leading to inflammation and cardiovascular diseases. We aimed to investigate the cholesterol crystal dissolution rate (CCDR) of serum in patients with aortic stenosis and to assess the prognostic value of this biomarker.

METHODS AND RESULTS: The study included 348 patients with aortic stenosis undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement. The CCDR was measured using flow cytometry to enumerate cholesterol crystals that were added to a serum solution, at baseline and after 2 hours of incubation. Based on the median CCDR, the cohort was stratified into high and low cholesterol crystal dissolvers. The incidence of the primary end point, a composite of 1-year all-cause mortality and major vascular complication, was significantly lower in the high CCDR group (7.3 per 100 person-years) compared with the low CCDR group (17.0 per 100 person-years, =0.01). This was mainly driven by a lower 1-year mortality rate in patients with a high CCDR (7.3 versus 15.1 per 100 person-years, =0.04). Unplanned endovascular interventions were significantly less frequent in high cholesterol crystal dissolvers (12.8 versus 22.6 per 100 person-years, =0.04). Although low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were comparable in both groups (101.8±37.3 mg/dL versus 97.9±37.6 mg/dL, =0.35), only patients with a low CCDR showed a benefit from statin treatment. In multivariate analysis, low CCDR (hazard ratio, 2.21 [95% CI, 0.99-4.92], =0.04) was significantly associated with 1-year mortality.

CONCLUSIONS: The CCDR is a novel biomarker associated with outcome in patients with aortic stenosis undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement. It may provide new insights into patients' anti-inflammatory capacity and additional prognostic information beyond classic risk assessment.

PMID: 38240198

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