At the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress (CCC) this year, transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) received quite a bit of attention. I was surprised to even see this new technique discussed on an episode of Gray’s Anatomy a few weeks after the CCC. TAVI is a relatively novel procedure (the first TAVI was performed in humans in 2002) and is currently indicated for inoperable or high-risk patients with aortic valve stenosis.
A recent article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions reported that operator efficiency improves rapidly over the first 30 TAVI cases, before reaching a plateau. Dr. Oluseun Alli (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN) and colleagues clustered their first 44 patients who underwent TAVI procedures in the PARTNER trials, between November 2008 and May 2011, into chronological tertiles. From the first to the third tertile they observed a decline in median contrast volume and radiation doses, in addition to a reduction in the elapsed time between valvuloplasty of the defective valve to deployment of the new valve.