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Conscious sedation during TAVR best for most patients


From the Society for Thoracic Surgeons (STS)/ACC Transcatheter Valve Therapy (TVT) Registry, the group identified 120,080 patients who had TAVR at 559 US sites, from January 2016 to March 2019.

During this time, the percentage of procedures that were done using conscious sedation almost doubled, plateauing in the final 6 months.

And the proportion of sites using any conscious sedation during TAVR increased from 50% to 76%.

The use of this procedure varied widely among the sites: 26% performed >80% of TAVR with conscious sedation, and 13% did not perform any TAVR cases with conscious sedation.

In hospitals in the lowest and highest quartiles of use of conscious sedation during TAVR, this type of sedation was used in a median of 0% of TAVR cases and 91% of cases, respectively.

The researchers used instrumental variable analysis to compare outcomes in patients whose type of anesthesia would differ if they went to a hospital with high or low use of conscious sedation.

Using this method, the use of conscious sedation was associated with a 0.2% absolute risk difference in in-hospital death, the primary study endpoint (P = .010).

And compared with general anesthesia, conscious sedation during TAVR was also associated with a lower rate of 30-day death (2.0% vs 2.5%, respectively), fewer days in the hospital (3.5 vs 4.3 days), and a higher rate of being discharged to home (88.9% vs 86.1%, all P < .001).

“Our results would not apply to those patients who always receive general anesthesia, even at high conscious sedation use centers (eg, patients with severe lung disease on oxygen or significant right ventricular dysfunction),” the authors caution.

Study limitations, next steps

A study limitation is that the registry data did not specify the type of conscious sedation that was used, Cohen acknowledged.

This could vary. For example, a patient could be given a very powerful sedative such as propofol (Diprivan), and his or her respiration and oxygen saturation would be monitored, and an anesthesiologist would be always present. Or the patient could receive sedation like that for angioplasty — diazepam (Valium) or midazolam (Versed) and a narcotic — without an anesthesiologist.

It would be useful to look at the TAVR volumes and compare outcomes within different TAVR volume quartiles, Tang suggested.

In low-volume centers, the anesthesiologist may be uncomfortable with complex cases, whereas larger academic centers would perform more complex procedures and may paradoxically have a slightly higher rate of complications, he speculated.

Future research should investigate what drives the differences in the use of conscious sedation, the authors suggest.

Cohen reports institutional grant support and consulting fees from Edwards Lifesciences, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, and Abbott. Butala is funded by the John S. LaDue Memorial Fellowship at Harvard Medical School and reports consulting fees and ownership interest in HiLabs, outside the submitted work. The disclosures of the other authors are listed with the original article.

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