Heart failure

Patients with congestive heart failure may be eligible for treatment that could help them live longer

August 24, 2022 — Patients diagnosed with moderate aortic stenosis and congestive heart failure may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial that will determine whether minimally invasive valve replacement benefits those who are currently treated only with medication.

The procedure, known by the acronym “TAVR” (Replacement of the aortic valve by catheter), is currently only approved for use in patients with severe aortic stenosis. In these cases, the aortic valve is replaced through a transcatheter process that replaces open-heart surgery and has allowed individuals to feel better, avoid hospital stays, and live longer.

To date, TAVR has not been approved as an option for people with moderate aortic stenosis. These patients are currently receiving medical treatment and are followed by guideline-directed medical treatment until their condition worsens. The National ‘TAVR UNLOAD’ Trial Memorial Heart and Vascular Institute is involved in investigating whether performing the valve replacement much earlier, before the patient’s condition worsens, provides the same benefits.

“The exciting part for the patient in the TAVR trial is potentially having access to a treatment that otherwise would not be available to them,” said Dr Jonathan Roberts, Medical Director of Clinical Research and Education, Interventional Cardiology for Memorial Health System and Director of its Cardiology Fellowship Program. “TAVR is an amazing procedure that we do quite frequently, but it’s new for us to do it on those whose disease hasn’t progressed to its later stages.”

The clinical trial will randomize patients with moderate aortic stenosis, with 50% receiving the TAVR procedure and the other half continuing with traditional medical treatment. Researchers expect the five-year comparative study to produce results that demonstrate whether those who underwent the procedure earlier achieve the same benefits as those who undergo TAVI once their heart disease becomes more severe and how these results compare to those who continued with guideline-directed medical treatment. “Memorial’s participation in the trial is a direct result of the healthcare system’s ascension as an academic medical center with the expertise and patient volumes required for host institutions,” said Dr. Roberts.

For more information: mhs.net/services/cardiac-vascular