Surgical aortic valve replacement should remain the standard treatment for aortic stenosis

October 20, 2010

Despite the promising results of the "Placement of Aortic Transcatheter Valves (PARTNER) trial," featured in the Oct. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a cardiothoracic surgeon from Boston Medical Center (BMC) believes that surgical aortic-valve replacement should remain the standard treatment of aortic stenosis. In the accompanying editorial, the author argues that Transcatheter aortic-valve implantation (TAVI) should be reserved for patients at inordinately high risk who are not suitable candidates for surgery and who have decreased life expectancy.

Aortic-valve replacement is the most effective treatment to alleviate symptoms and improve survival in patients with critical . However, a substantial number of these patients have coexisting conditions that preclude surgery. Since outcomes with medical management are poor, a less invasive and safer alternative to surgical is needed for this expanding group of patients.

TAVI has emerged as an alternative treatment for aortic stenosis in patients who are considered to have a high or prohibitive surgical risk. In this week's Journal, Martin B. Leon and his coauthors report the results of the PARTNER trial, a prospective, randomized, multicenter trial to determine the optimal method of treating patients with critical aortic stenosis who are considered not to be suitable candidates for surgery. Patients who underwent TAVI as compared with patients receiving medical management, had a significantly lower rate of death at one year, fewer hospital readmissions, and a reduction in cardiac symptoms. These improved outcomes were achieved, however, at the cost of a significant increase in the rate of major strokes and vascular events.

"Now that there is evidence-based clinical data to substantiate the benefits of TAVI in patients who are not suitable candidates for surgery, there will be a temptation to expand this technology to all patients with aortic stenosis," said editorial author Harold Lazar, MD, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery and Director of the Cardiothoracic Surgical Laboratories at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).

According to Lazar a number of issues must be resolved prior to deciding what role TAVI may play in the treatment of aortic stenosis including criteria to determine who is not a candidate for surgical aortic-valve replacement, who should perform TAVI and where should it be performed. "Only when these issues are addressed can we determine where we go from here," he stressed.

"Given what we know, TAVI should not be performed in patients with long life expectancies. Prospective, adequately powered, randomized trials comparing TAVI with surgical aortic-valve replacement in both high-risk and low-risk patients will be necessary to further define the role of TAVI in the treatment of aortic stenosis," he added.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New approach to tracking how deadly 'superbugs' travel could slow their spread

November 22, 2017
Killer bacteria - ones that have out-evolved our best antibiotics—may not go away anytime soon. But a new approach to tracking their spread could eventually give us a fighting chance to keep their death toll down.

Research points to diagnostic test for top cause of liver transplant in kids

November 22, 2017
Biliary atresia is the most common cause of liver transplants for children in the United States. Now researchers report in Science Translational Medicine finding a strong biomarker candidate that could be used for earlier ...

Rainfall can indicate that mosquito-borne epidemics will occur weeks later

November 22, 2017
A new study demonstrates that outbreaks of mosquito-borne viruses Zika and Chikungunya generally occur about three weeks after heavy rainfall.Researchers also found that Chikungunya will predominate over Zika when both circulate ...

Metabolites altered in chronic kidney disease

November 22, 2017
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 1 in 7 people in the United States, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). These individuals have a very high risk of cardiovascular ...

Alcohol consumption and metabolic factors act together to increase the risk of severe liver disease

November 22, 2017
A new study provides insights into the interaction between alcohol consumption and metabolic factors in predicting severe liver disease in the general population. The findings, which are published in Hepatology, indicate ...

Gastric acid suppressant lansoprazole may target tuberculosis

November 21, 2017
A cheap and widely used drug, used to treat conditions such as heartburn, gastritis and ulcers, could work against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB), according to new research from UCL and the London School of Hygiene ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.