TAVR valves now FDA approved for low-risk patients


The Food and Drug Administration has expanded the indication for the Sapien 3, Sapien 3 Ultra, CoreValve Evolut R, and CoreValve Evolut PRO transcatheter heart valves to include patients with severe aortic valve stenosis at low risk for death or major complications associated with open-heart surgery.

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The announcement was based on results of a pair of clinical trials involving patients with severe aortic valve stenosis. In the first, 1,000 patients were randomly sorted to receive either transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) with the Edwards Lifescience’s Sapien 3 device or open-heart surgery. In the second, 1,468 patients received either Medtronic’s CoreValve Evolut R or CoreValve Evolut PRO or open heart surgery. In both studies, after an average follow-up time of 15-17 months, outcomes such as all-cause mortality and stroke were similar in patients who underwent open heart surgery and who received the transcatheter heart valve.

Serious adverse events associated with transcatheter heart valves include death, stroke, acute kidney injury, heart attack, bleeding, and the need for a permanent pacemaker. Patients who cannot tolerate blood-thinning medication or have an infection in the heart are contraindicated; in addition, the CoreValve devices should not be used in patients sensitive to titanium or nickel. Because the longevity of transcatheter heart valves, compared with open-heart surgery, has not been established, younger patients should discuss options with their health care provider.

“This new approval significantly expands the number of patients that can be treated with this less invasive procedure for aortic valve replacement and follows a thorough review of data demonstrating these devices are safe and effective for this larger population,” Bram Zuckerman, MD, director of the Office of Cardiovascular Devices in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in the press release.

Find the full press release on the FDA website.

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