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PARIS (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – The Evolut R transcatheter aortic valve demonstrated excellent 30-day results in a real-world, mixed surgical risk population in the large Evolut R FORWARD study.

In this 1,038-patient observational study conducted at 53 sites in 20 countries, the Evolut R valve showed excellent forward hemodynamics and low 30-day rates of all-cause mortality and stroke that were unaffected by utilization of the device’s repositioning feature, Eberhard Grube, MD, reported at the annual congress of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions.

The Evolut R is a repositionable, supra-annular porcine valve in a self-expanding Nitinol frame that can be resheathed or fully recaptured to aid in accurate valve positioning. It is delivered via a 14 French–equivalent catheter. Previously approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in high-surgical-risk patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis, on July 10 the agency expanded the indication to include intermediate-surgical-risk patients on the strength of the results of the randomized SURTAVI trial.

The importance of the FORWARD study, Dr. Grube observed, is that it illustrates the clinical outcomes obtained in a large population drawn from routine clinical practice. Unlike in a randomized trial such as SURTAVI, the participating sites in the Evolut R Forward study weren’t all high-volume enrollment centers, and operators had widely varying degrees of experience with the valve.

Also, SURTAVI utilized the first generation of the self-expanding CoreValve, which lacked the repositioning feature introduced in the second-generation Evolut R. The FORWARD study is the first rigorous evaluation of Evolut R with centrally adjudicated outcomes.

The mean Society of Thoracic Surgeons predicted risk of mortality score in participants was 5.5%, and 47% had a low-risk score of less than 4%. However, the patients had a mean age of 82 years, one-third were deemed frail, 30% had diabetes, and 26% had chronic lung disease.

The primary study endpoint was 30-day all-cause mortality. The rate was 1.9%, compared with a predicted 5.5% rate based on STS score, for an impressive observed-to-expected ratio of 0.35.

Hemodynamically, the effective orifice area improved from 0.8 cm2 at baseline to 1.9 cm2 at 30 days, while the mean aortic valve gradient plunged from 41.7 to 8.5 mm Hg.

At baseline only 1.5% of patients were New York Heart Association functional class I and 26.5% were class II. At 30 days, 44.7% were class I and 43.4% were class II. The prevalence of NYHA class III status decreased from 63.8% to 11.3%.

There was no or only trace paravalvular leak at discharge in 67.2% of patients as adjudicated in a core laboratory, mild leak in 30.9%, moderate in 1.9%, and severe leak in just 0.1%.

The 30-day total stroke rate was 2.8%, including a 1.8% rate of disabling stroke. Major vascular complications occurred in 6.5% of patients, valve embolization in 0.7%, and life-threatening or disabling bleeding in 3.3%. There were no cases of coronary obstruction or annular rupture.

New pacemaker implantation was required within 30 days in 17.5% of patients. Three-quarters of the pacemakers were placed because of third-degree atrioventricular block.

The new valve ended up in proper anatomic position in 98.9% of patients.

The repositioning feature was utilized in 26% of participants. It had no impact on the rate of pacemaker implantation, mortality, stroke, or other safety endpoints.

“I think the ability to reposition this valve, which is a safety feature, is an important feature, particularly for centers that don’t have so much experience. If the valve is considered to be too high or too low, or you see, for example, a higher degree of paravalvular leak, you have the chance to correct that by using this feature. So it’s an important feature for the operator. It helps to get an optimal result. And the most important thing is there was no price in terms of safety that we paid for repositioning,” said Dr. Grube, professor of cardiology and head of the Center for Innovative Intervention in Cardiology at the University of Bonn in Siegberg, Germany.

Session cochair Alain Cribier, MD , famed for having performed the world’s first TAVR procedure, pronounced the FORWARD results “very impressive.”

“Less than 2% mortality, around a 2% disabling stroke rate, and the data on paravalvular leak are excellent as well. It’s very nice to see that what was a limited data set earlier, with a smaller number of patients, has now been replicated in 1,000 patients. So I think now we can confidently talk about the clinical outcomes – and they are excellent,” declared Dr. Cribier, professor of medicine at the University of Rouen (France) and chief of cardiology at Charles Nicolle Hospital.

The FORWARD study was sponsored by Medtronic. Dr. Grube reported serving as a consultant to that company as well as to Boston Scientific, Abbott, and Millipede Medical.

bjancin@frontlinemedcom.com

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