Systolic murmurs in older adults require investigation with echocardiography. The most common cause is aortic sclerosis, which does not require therapy, followed by aortic stenosis. Surgery is indicated for aortic stenosis in patients with symptoms (fatigue, shortness of breath, angina and/or syncope) and in asymptomatic patients with left ventricular dysfunction or marked hypertrophy. Older aortic stenosis patients can undergo surgery with minimal increased risk, excellent long-term outcomes, and marked improvements in quality of life. Such patients may be referred directly to cardiac surgeons in order to limit age discrimination that may be present within the medical community.
Key words: aortic stenosis, congestive heart failure, aortic valve replacement, quality of life, outcomes.