Aortic valve stenosis (AVS) is the most frequent acquired valvular heart disease in western industrialized countries and its prevalence considerably increases with age. Once becoming symptomatic severe AVS has a very poor prognosis. Progressive and rapid symptom deterioration leads to an impairment of functional status and compromised healthrelated quality-of-life (HrQoL) simultaneously. Until recently, surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) has been the only effective treatment option for improving symptoms and prolonging survival. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) emerged as an alternative treatment modality for those patients with severe symptomatic AVS in whom the risk for SAVR is considered prohibitive or too high. TAVR has gained clinical acceptance with almost startling rapidity and has even quickly become the standard of care for the treatment of appropriately selected individuals with inoperable AVS during recent years. Typically, patients currently referred for and treated by TAVR are elderly with a concomitant variable spectrum of multiple comorbidities, disabilities and limited life expectancy. Beyond mortality and morbidity, the assessment of HrQoL is of paramount importance not only to guide patient-centered clinical decision-making but also to judge this new treatment modality. As per current evidence, TAVR significantly improves HrQoL in high-surgical risk patients with severe AVS with sustained effects up to two years when compared with optimal medical care and demonstrates comparable benefits relative to SAVR.
Along with a provision of a detailed overview of the current literature regarding functional and HrQoL outcomes in patients undergoing TAVR, this review article addresses specific considerations of the HrQoL aspect in the elderly patient and finally outlines the implications of HrQoL outcomes for medico-economic deliberations.