Early Experience of a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Program at a Veterans Affairs Facility

JAMA Surg. 2013 Dec;148(12):1087-93. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2013.3743.


Importance: The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved the use of a transcatheter aortic valve in patients for whom traditional valve replacement surgery poses a high or prohibitive risk. Our hospital was one of the first Veterans Affairs facilities to launch a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program.

Objective: To evaluate our early experience with transfemoral TAVR.

Design and setting: We retrospectively reviewed the records of all patients who underwent TAVR during the first year of our program at the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Participants: The mean (SD) age of the patients was 77 (9) years, and their mean (SD) Society of Thoracic Surgeons predicted risk of mortality score was 8.8 (10.7).

Interventions: All patients underwent TAVR with the SAPIEN transcutaneous valve.

Main outcome measures: We evaluated operative mortality and major operative morbidity (stroke, myocardial infarction, renal failure necessitating dialysis, and requirement for mechanical circulatory support, as well as vascular complications and requirement for permanent pacemaker), in addition to length of hospital stay and discharge status.

Results: Between December 21, 2011, and December 13, 2012, a total of 19 transfemoral TAVR procedures were performed at our center. Implantation was successful in all cases. There were no reports of operative (30-day) mortality, prosthetic valve endocarditis, renal failure necessitating dialysis, perioperative myocardial infarction or stroke, or conversion to surgical aortic valve replacement. Seven patients (37%) had mild paravalvular leak, 3 patients (16%) had moderate paravalvular leak, 2 patients (11%) had groin wound complications, 2 patients (11%) required a permanent pacemaker, 1 patient (5%) had a vascular access complication requiring endovascular repair, and 1 patient (5%) required temporary circulatory support (with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation). The mean (SD) length of hospital stay after TAVR was 8.0 (5.9) days. All patients were discharged home.

Conclusions and relevance: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement can be performed safely and with good outcomes at a Veterans Affairs facility with a committed multidisciplinary team and substantial experience in heart valve and endovascular therapies.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / therapy
  • Cardiac Catheterization*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis*
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Hospitals, Veterans / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient Safety
  • Patient Selection
  • Patients
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States