SAN FRANCISCO – Survival after 12 months was more likely with transcatheter repair of tricuspid regurgitation instead of guideline-directed medical therapy, and patients were less likely to be rehospitalized with heart failure, in a propensity-matched case-control study presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics annual meeting.
Tricuspid regurgitation carries a substantial burden of morbidity and mortality, but there hasn’t been great success with surgical approaches, so several trials are underway assessing transcatheter repair. It’s unclear at the moment whether it will beat medical management, which generally includes diuretics and symptom relief, said lead investigator, MD, PhD, a cardiac surgeon and interventional cardiologist at the University Hospital of Zürich.
Dr. Taramasso and colleagues wanted to take a look at the issue pending results of the randomized trials. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty in regard to what we can do for the patient by reducing tricuspid regurgitation. [There are] no data showing that reducing tricuspid regurgitation improves survival,” he said at the meeting.
The investigators matched 268 patients from the international Transcatheter Tricuspid Valve Therapies registry treated during 2016-2018 with 268 medical-management patients from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Leiden (the Netherlands) University, based on age, European System for Cardiac Operative Risk Evaluation II scores, and systolic pulmonary artery pressure, the major predictor of poor outcomes in tricuspid regurgitation.
Even with matching, transcatheter patients were worse off, which is probably why they had valve repair in the first place, Dr. Taramasso said at the meeting sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation. The baseline burden of right ventricular dysfunction, heart failure, mitral regurgitation, atrial fibrillation, and pacemaker placement were all significantly higher in the transcatheter group.
Even so, transcatheter patients had lower 1-year mortality (23% vs. 36%; P = .001) and fewer heart failure rehospitalizations (32% vs. 49%, P less than .0001). Transcatheter repair was associated with greater survival and freedom from heart failure rehospitalization (HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.46-0.79; P = .003), which remained significant after adjusting for sex, New York Heart Association functional class, right ventricular dysfunction, and atrial fibrillation (HR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.26-0.59; P less than .0001), and after further adjustment for mitral regurgitation and pacemaker/defibrillator placement (HR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.23-0.54; P less than .0001). Subgroup analyses based on mitral regurgitation severity, pulmonary artery pressure, and other factors all favored repair.
“This is an important set of data to show that, indeed, fixing the tricuspid valve does lead to better outcomes, and perhaps we can do that with a transcatheter approach,” said, MD, a professor of cardiology at Northwestern University, Chicago, after hearing the presentation.
The fact that transcatheter patients were sicker when they were treated is reassuring, added moderator, MD, an interventional cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at Columbia University, New York.
The success rate for the procedure, which was to be alive at the end of it, with the device successfully implanted, the delivery system retrieved, and residual tricuspid regurgitation (TR) less than 3+, was 86%, and 85% of patients were treated with MitraClip, most with two or three clips. Outcomes were similar, but not worse, than medical management when TR wasn’t significantly reduced.
Operators were highly experienced, there were no emergent conversions to surgery, and patients tolerated the approach “pretty well,” Dr. Taramasso said. The lesson is that “we should really try to reduce TR, but just a little bit is not enough.” Overall, “we probably need better devices and better patient selection. With the data we are collecting, we’ll be able soon to known when late is too late, which patients should not be treated,” he said.
The study didn’t address postprocedure medications, but it’s been noted in the registry that medication use generally declines after a few months. Subjects tended to be aged in their mid-70s, and there were slightly more women than men.
The results were published online concurrently with Dr. Taramasso’s report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
No company funding was reported. Dr. Taramasso is a consultant for Abbott Vascular, Boston Scientific, 4TECH, and CoreMedic; and has received speaker fees from Edwards Lifesciences.
SOURCE: Taramasso M et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019 Sep 24. doi: