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Sarcopenia And Aortic Valve Disease


Valvular heart disease, including calcific or degenerative aortic stenosis (AS), is increasingly prevalent among the older adult population. Over the last few decades, treatment of severe AS has been revolutionised following the development of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Despite improvements in outcomes, older adults with competing comorbidities and geriatric syndromes have suboptimal quality of life outcomes, highlighting the cumulative vulnerability that persists despite valve replacement. Sarcopenia, characterised by loss of muscle strength, mass and function, affects 21%–70% of older adults with AS. Sarcopenia is an independent predictor of short-term and long-term outcomes after TAVR and should be incorporated as a prognostic marker in preprocedural planning. Early diagnosis and treatment of sarcopenia may reduce morbidity and mortality and improve quality of life following TAVR. The adverse effects of sarcopenia can be mitigated through resistance training and optimisation of nutritional status. This is most efficacious when administered before sarcopenia has progressed to advanced stages. Management should be individualised based on the patient’s wishes/preferences, care goals and physical capability. Exercise during the preoperative waiting period may be safe and effective in most patients with severe AS. However, future studies are needed to establish the benefits of prehabilitation in improving quality of life outcomes after TAVR procedures.