BACKGROUND: Patients with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis (ssAS) have a high mortality risk and compromised quality of life. Surgical/transcatheter aortic valve replacement (AVR) is a Class I recommendation, but it is unclear if this recommendation is uniformly applied. We determined the impact of managing cardiologists on the likelihood of ssAS treatment. METHODS AND RESULTS: Using natural language processing of Optum electronic health records, we identified 26 438 patients with newly diagnosed ssAS (2011–2016). Multilevel, multivariable Fine-Gray competing risk models clustered by cardiologists were used to determine the impact of cardiologists on the likelihood of 1-year AVR treatment. Within 1 year of diagnosis, 35.6% of patients with ssAS received an AVR; however, rates varied widely among managing cardiologists (0%, lowest quar-tile; 100%, highest quartile [median, 29.6%; 25th–75th percentiles, 13.3%–47.0%]). The odds of receiving AVR varied >2-fold depending on the cardiologist (median odds ratio for AVR, 2.25; 95% CI, 2.14–2.36). Compared with patients with ssAS of cardiologists with the highest treatment rates, those treated by cardiologists with the lowest AVR rates experienced significantly higher 1-year mortality (lowest quartile, adjusted hazard ratio, 1.22, 95% CI, 1.13–1.33). CONCLUSIONS: Overall AVR rates for ssAS were low, highlighting a potential challenge for ssAS management in the United States. Cardiologist AVR use varied substantially; patients treated by cardiologists with lower AVR rates had higher mortality rates than those treated by cardiologists with higher AVR rates.
- Aortic valve replacement
- Physician variability
- Symptomatic severe aortic stenosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine