Aims: The introduction of transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has generated a renewed interest in the treatment of high-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis. This study describes the indications and long-term outcome of balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV) in recent years.
Methods and results: Between 2000 and 2010, 415 consecutive patients at our institution underwent BAV. The number of BAV per year increased sharply after the introduction of TAVI. Patients were 77.5±10.9 years old and showed important comorbidities (average logistic EuroSCORE=23.9±15.3%). We identified four cohorts according to the indications: 1) bridge for TAVI (B-TAVI; n=162); 2) bridge for aortic valve replacement (B-AVR, n=97); 3) cardiogenic shock (n=23); 4) palliation (n=133). Baseline characteristics were significantly different among groups. In-hospital mortality was 5.1%, and occurred predominantly in patients who underwent BAV in the setting of cardiogenic shock (56.5% vs. around 2% in the other subgroups). Other major events were stroke (0.5%), major vascular complications (2.2%), and life-threatening bleedings (1.5%). The cumulative one-year and two-year mortality rates were 33.2% and 57.4%, respectively, with the highest incidence in the shock group (70.7% and 80.4%) and the lowest in the B-AVR group (21.7% and 38.4%). Rehospitalisation for heart failure was 26.3% at one-year and 47.2% at two-year follow-up.
Conclusions: The number of BAV is increasing, mainly due to increased referral of high-risk patients and to the emerging indication of bridge for TAVI. In this complex population, BAV is relatively safe but two-year survival remains poor, and more effective and definitive treatments should be pursued in a timely fashion.