Latest evidence on transcatheter aortic valve implantation vs. surgical aortic valve replacement for the treatment of aortic stenosis in high and intermediate-risk patients

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Purpose of review

The goal of this review is to summarize the current evidence supporting the use of transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) in high and intermediate-risk patients. The focus is on the five randomized controlled trials comparing TAVI with surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) published to date, as well as two recent meta-analyses.

Recent findings

TAVI has profoundly transformed the treatment of elderly patients presenting with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis. In experienced hands, the procedure has become well tolerated and the results more predictable. So far, two trials using two different devices [Placement of Aortic Transcatheter Valve (PARTNER) 1A and US CoreValve High Risk] have shown that TAVI is able to compete in terms of mortality with SAVR in high-risk patients. These findings have been extended to the intermediate-risk population in two recently published randomized controlled trials [PARTNER 2 and Nordic Aortic Valve Intervention (NOTION)]. The two meta-analyses suggested improved survival in both high and intermediate-risk patients during the first 2 years following the intervention. The survival benefit was only found in patients treated via the transfemoral access, and appeared more pronounced in women.


Individual randomized trials enrolling high and intermediate-risk patients have established the noninferiority of TAVI in comparison with SAVR, whereas subsequent meta-analyses suggest superiority of transfemoral TAVI in terms of a sustained survival benefit 2 years after valve implantation irrespective of the surgical risk category. The benefit of TAVI appears more pronounced in women than in men.

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