PHOENIX (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) Use of transcatheter aortic valve replacement continued to expand through the first half of 2015, but the procedure remained primarily targeted to patients at least 80 years old, according to data collected in a U.S. postmarketing registry.

When the Food and Drug Administration first approved a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) system for routine U.S. use in late 2011, the patients who underwent TAVR “were either at very high risk or inoperable, and we’ve seen that move into high-risk patients – and I’m sure we’ll see more introduction of this into patients who are at medium risk,” said Dr. Frederick L. Grover in a video interview at the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Despite this downward trend in risk level, the median and average ages of TAVR patients remain above 80 years.

In 2015, U.S. TAVR recipients had a median age of 83 years and a mean age of 81 years, virtually unchanged from the 84-year median and 82-year mean during routine U.S. practice in 2012, the first year for data collection by the STS and American College of Cardiology Transcatheter Valve Therapy (TVT) Registry . Dr. Grover reported the latest data from the registry at the meeting, through roughly the first half of 2015.

“There has been some movement downward” from 2012 to 2014 in the predicted 30-day mortality rate of patients as measured by their preprocedural STS risk score . The rate declined from an average predicted mortality rate of 7.05% in 2012 to an average of 6.69% among patients treated during 2014.

Despite this shift, TAVR patients remain highly vulnerable to surgical complications because of their advanced age and frailty, said Dr. Grover, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Colorado in Aurora and vice chairman of the registry steering committee.

STS encourages surgeons and cardiologists who collaborate on the heart teams that judge patient suitability for TAVR to measure frailty with the 5-meter walk test, run sequentially three times. Patients who take an average of 6 seconds or more to complete the test are deemed frail and eligible for TAVR. Registry data show that during 2012-2014, 81% of TAVR patients met this frailty criterion.

Perhaps the most notable statistics in the registry are the snowballing numbers of procedures performed, which have come close to doubling each year.

In the first full year of commercial use, 2012, 4,601 patients underwent TAVR, which jumped to 9,128 patients in 2013, 16,314 patients in 2014, and 23,002 patients during just the first part of 2015, Dr. Grover reported.

Dr. Grover had no relevant disclosures.

On Twitter @mitchelzoler


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