Transfemoral aortic valve implantation under sedation and monitored anaesthetic care – a feasibility study

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SummarySurgical aortic valve replacement is the conventional treatment for symptomatic aortic valve stenosis; however, the technique of transfemoral transcatheter aortic valve implantation has recently been developed for older patients at high risk for surgery. We assessed whether this procedure could be safely performed under sedation in 100 patients. Their predicted surgical mortality was 21.6% and mean (SD) age 80 (6.6) years. Sedation was provided by remifentanil infusion (0–0.2 μ−1.min−1) and midazolam (1–3 mg), as required. All patients were closely haemodynamically monitored throughout by an anaesthetist and inotropic drugs administered as indicated by invasive monitoring. Sedation alone was required in 83 patients; in 17 patients sedation had to be converted to general anaesthesia, mainly because of interventional complications (n = 12). All conversions to general anaesthesia occurred after successful valve implantation. Mean (SD) anaesthesia time was 31 (12) min and procedural time 107 (77) min; 30-day and 1-year all-cause mortality were 6% and 13%, respectively. In the majority of patients, transcatheter valve implantation can safely be facilitated by sedation, provided monitoring and drug administration are carried out by an experienced cardiac anaesthetist.

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