NEW ORLEANS – In the first pivotal randomized, controlled trial of a transcatheter device for the repair of severe tricuspid regurgitation, a large reduction in valve dysfunction was associated with substantial improvement in quality of life (QOL) persisting out of 1 year of follow-up, according to results of the TRILUMINATE trial.
Based on the low procedural risks of the repair, the principal investigator, Paul Sorajja, MD, called the results “very clinically meaningful” as he presented the results at the joint scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation.
Conducted at 65 centers in the United States, Canada, and North America, TRILUMINATE evaluated a transcatheter end-to-end (TEER) repair performed with the TriClip G4 Delivery System (Abbott). The study included two cohorts, both of which will be followed for 5 years. One included patients with very severe tricuspid regurgitation enrolled in a single arm. Data on this cohort is expected later in 2023.
In the randomized portion of the study, 350 patients enrolled with severe tricuspid regurgitation underwent TEER with a clipping device and then were followed on the guideline-directed therapy (GDMT) for heart failure they were receiving at baseline. The control group was managed on GDMT alone.
The primary composite endpoint at 1 year was a composite of death from any cause and/or tricuspid valve surgery, hospitalization for heart failure, and quality of life as measured with the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy questionnaire (KCCQ).
Benefit driven by quality of life
For the primary endpoint, the win ratio, a statistical calculation of those who did relative to those who did not benefit, was 1.48, signifying a 48% advantage (P = .02). This was driven almost entirely by the KCCQ endpoint. There was no significant difference death and/or tricuspid valve surgery, which occurred in about 10% of both groups (P = .75) or heart failure hospitalization, which was occurred in slightly more patients randomized to repair (14.9% vs. 12.1%; P = .41).
For KCCQ, the mean increase at 1 year was 12.3 points in the repair group versus 0.6 points (P < .001) in the control group. With an increase of 5-10 points typically considered to be clinically meaningful, the advantage of repair over GDMT at the threshold of 15 points or greater was highly statistically significant (49.7% vs. 26.4%; P < .0001).
This advantage was attributed to control of regurgitation. The proportion achieving moderate or less regurgitation sustained at 1 year was 87% in the repair group versus 4.8% in the GDMT group (P < .0001).
When assessed independent of treatment, KCCQ benefits at 1 year increased in a stepwise fashion as severity of regurgitation was reduced, climbing from 2 points if there was no improvement to 6 points with one grade in improvement and then to 18 points with at least a two-grade improvement.
For regurgitation, “the repair was extremely effective,” said Dr. Sorajja of Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis. He added that the degree of regurgitation control in the TRILUMINATE trial “is the highest ever reported.” With previous trials with other transcatheter devices in development, the improvement so far has been on the order of 70%-80%.
For enrollment in TRILUMINATE, patients were required to have at least an intermediate risk of morbidity or mortality from tricuspid valve surgery. Exclusion criteria included a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) less than 20% and severe pulmonary hypertension.
More than 70% of patients had the highest (torrential) or second highest (massive) category of regurgitation on a five-level scale by echocardiography. Almost all the remaining were at the third level (severe).
Of those enrolled, the average age was roughly 78 years. About 55% were women. Nearly 60% were in New York Heart Association class III or IV heart failure and most had significant comorbidities, including hypertension (> 80%), atrial fibrillation (about 90%), and renal disease (35%). Patients with diabetes (16%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (10%), and liver disease (7.5%) were represented in lower numbers.
Surgery is not necessarily an option
All enrolled patients were considered to be at intermediate or greater risk for mortality with surgical replacement of the tricuspid valve, but Dr. Sorajja pointed out that surgery, which involves valve replacement, is not necessarily an alternative to valve repair. Even in fit patients, the high morbidity, mortality, and extended hospital stay associated with surgical valve replacement makes this procedure unattractive.
In this trial, most patients who underwent the transcatheter procedure were discharged within a day. The safety was excellent, Dr. Sorajja said. Only three patients (1.7%) had a major adverse event. This included two cases of new-onset renal failure and one cardiovascular death. There were no cases of endocarditis requiring surgery or any other type of nonelective cardiovascular surgery, including for any device-related issue.
In the sick population enrolled, Dr. Sorajja characterized the number of adverse events over 1 year as “very low.”
These results are important, according to Kendra Grubb, MD, surgical director of the Structural Heart and Valve Center, Emory University, Atlanta. While she expressed surprise that there was no signal of benefit on hard endpoints at 1 year, she emphasized that “these patients feel terrible,” and they are frustrating to manage because surgery is often contraindicated or impractical.
“Finally, we have something for this group,” she said, noting that the mortality from valve replacement surgery even among patients who are fit enough for surgery to be considered is about 10%.
Ajay Kirtane, MD, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at Columbia University, New York, was more circumspect. He agreed that the improvement in QOL was encouraging, but cautioned that QOL is a particularly soft outcome in a nonrandomized trial in which patients may feel better just knowing that there regurgitation has been controlled. He found the lack of benefit on hard outcomes not just surprising but “disappointing.”
Still, he agreed the improvement in QOL is potentially meaningful for a procedure that appears to be relatively safe.
Dr. Sorajja reported financial relationships with Boston Scientific, Edwards Lifesciences, Foldax. 4C Medical, Gore Medtronic, Phillips, Siemens, Shifamed, Vdyne, xDot, and Abbott Structural, which provided funding for this trial. Dr. Grubb reported financial relationships with Abbott Vascular, Ancora Heart, Bioventrix, Boston Scientific, Edwards Lifesciences, 4C Medical, JenaValve, and Medtronic. Dr. Kirtane reported financial relationships with Abbott Vascular, Amgen, Boston Scientific, Chiesi, Medtronic, Opsens, Phillips, ReCor, Regeneron, and Zoll.