Conventional versus Transapical Aortic Valve Replacement: Is It Time for Shift in Indications?

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The incidence of degenerative aortic valve diseases has increased along with the life expectancy of our population. Although conventional aortic valve replacement (AVR) is the gold standard for symptomatic aortic stenosis, transcatheter procedures have proven to be a valid therapeutic option in high-risk patients. The aim of this study was to compare these procedures in a high-risk cohort.


We retrospectively analyzed all symptomatic (dyspnea or angina) high-risk patients (logistic EuroSCORE ≥ 15%) fulfilling the transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) indications. Most of the AVR patients (n = 180) were operated on before the implementation of TAVI. All TAVI procedures (n = 127) were performed transapically (TA). After matching for age, logistic EuroSCORE, and left ventricular ejection fraction, 82 pairs of patients were evaluated.


When comparing AVR with TA-TAVI, there was no difference between groups in survival after 1 year (Kaplan-Meier analysis, 81.1% [95% CI: 72.5-89.7%] vs. 75.8% [95% CI: 66.2-75.9%], Log tank p = 0.660) and the complication rates (n for AVR vs. TA-TAVI: stroke, 2 vs. 0, p = 0.580; acute renal insufficiency, 8 vs. 12, p = 0.340; atrial fibrillation, 24 vs. 26, p = 0.813; pacemaker implantation, 4 vs. 4, p > 0.999). In addition, quality of life did not differ between groups. Patients in the TA-TAVI group had lower mean valvular gradients postoperatively compared with the AVR group (14.6 ± 6.6 vs. 10.2 ± 4.9 mm Hg, p < 0.001).


For high-risk patients, the TAVI procedure is comparable with conventional AVR, but is not advantageous. These results do not support the expansion of TAVI to low- or intermediate-risk patients.

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