SAN DIEGO – Early benefits of valve-in-valve transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for patients with failing surgical aortic bioprosthetic valves are sustained for at least 3 years, based on results presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics annual meeting.
Previously published data for the 365 patients from the PARTNER Valve-in-Valve study showed dramatic improvements at 30 days and 1 year in hemodynamic measures, mitral and tricuspid regurgitation, and quality of life (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;69:2253-62).
At the 3-year mark, about one-third of patients had died, reported lead investigator John G. Webb, MD, a professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. “I think we can say that this reflects multiple comorbidities in this high-risk patient population with an STS [Society of Thoracic Surgery] risk score of 1.9%. Patients were selected for being at extreme risk,” he commented. “This is not unexpected. ... This is very comparable to what we saw in the early PARTNER trials as well.”
For survivors, however, the early benefits were still present and largely unattenuated at 3 years. For example, about half of patients were New York Heart Association (NYHA) class I at 30 days, at 1 year, and at 3 years. And Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) score, reflecting heart failure–related quality of life, averaged 70-77 at all three time points.
The proportion of patients needing yet another valve replacement (surgical or transcatheter), possibly signaling structural valve deterioration or degeneration, was less than 2% at 3 years, and hemodynamic parameters remained good.
Valve-in-valve TAVR need not be restricted to academic high-volume centers, according to Dr. Webb. “I run a regional program, and my regional program had a hub-and-spoke model where this was restricted to one institution, and four other institutions just did routine transfemoral TAVR. We had to give up that because these are some of the easiest TAVR procedures that we do. You have a radio-opaque valve, you know the angle, you know the size, it seals well, you don’t get annular rupture, you don’t need pacemakers very often.”
In addition, recent TCT registry data suggest that outcomes with valve-in-valve TAVR are better than those with native-valve TAVR, Dr. Webb noted. “There’s a knowledge base that’s required that routine TAVR operators may not have. But it can be taught, it can be learned, and it’s not a difficult procedure when you know how to do it.”
“This study is very, very useful for all of us,” commented press conference panelist Jeffrey J. Popma, MD, an interventional cardiologist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “But should we be reconsidering anticoagulation therapy in some of the valve-in-valve procedures? We have learned from the leaflet thrombosis data that one of the risk factors for that is a valve-in-valve procedure. Clinically, we have seen a few cases where thrombus does form in the nidus of all the material that’s there.”
“There was no sign of leaflet thrombosis playing a role in reintervention,” Dr. Webb replied. “[Reintervention] was performed for various reasons, including leaks and valves that were too small. So it wasn’t clear that leaflet thrombosis was a factor in this study. That being said, we weren’t looking for it; we didn’t have sensitive means [to detect it], we weren’t doing transesophageal echoes, we weren’t doing CTs.
“Personally, I suspect that maybe we should be routinely anticoagulating all of our valve implants,” he added. “We certainly do it for our mitral valves routinely, and although I can’t recommend it, I have to admit that we do do this for aortic valves in my particular center. But I have no data from this study to support that either way.”