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Catheter Or Surgery? Clinical Study On Heart Valve Replacement Begins

Catheter or surgery? Clinical study on heart valve replacement begins

One of the most common acquired heart diseases in the over 75’s is aortic valve stenosis. Normally, it requires the replacement of the valve. In principle, there are two ways to do this: the patient’s thorax is opened surgically and an artificial valve is implanted; or a new valve is advanced through a femoral artery up to the heart using a catheter. A clinical study of the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) shall investigate for the first time which of the two methods is better for patients with medium to low surgical risk. The study comprises 1,600 patients and costs 4.5 million euros. It is not an industry initiated trial, so the valves of all established manufacturers may be used.

Just a few years ago, very elderly or multimorbid patients had no chance of receiving a new heart valve. The only treatment method – open heart surgery – would have been too risky. Only since the first successful minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) in 2002 could these patients be treated. However, even TAVI is not without risk: because of the catheter, vessel wall deposits can rupture and lead to a stroke or heart attack. Moreover, the long-term durability of the TAVI valves, which unfold like an umbrella in the calcified aortic valve, is still under intense discussion.

The advantage of TAVI for younger individuals is…

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