When you have congestive heart failure or moderate aortic stenosis, just getting through each day might feel like an uphill battle. Your quality of life may suffer if you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, exhaustion, nausea, difficulty sleeping, coughing, and other similar symptoms.
It is a minimally invasive procedure known as TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement); is currently only approved for use in patients with severe aortic stenosis. In those cases, the aortic valve is replaced through a transcatheter process that replaces open-heart surgery and has resulted in individuals feeling better, avoiding hospital stays, and living longer.
Most recently, Memorial Healthcare System, located in Hollywood, FL., launched a randomized trial called TAVR UNLOAD for patients with moderate – not severe – aortic stenosis to see if there is benefit to providing an earlier intervention of aortic valve replacement versus the medical therapy that is approved for the less severe cases.
“The exciting part to the patient participating in the TAVR trial is potentially having access to a treatment that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them… is an amazing procedure that we perform quite frequently, but it’s new for us to be doing this on those whose disease hasn’t progressed to its later stages”, said Dr. Jonathan Roberts.
How does this trial works? It’s a five-year study currently accepting candidates. Patients who have moderate aortic stenosis will be randomly assigned to either get the TAVR procedure or continue with the standard medical treatment for the course of the clinical trial. The results are expected to demonstrate whether those who have the procedure earlier get the same benefit as those who undergo TAVR once their heart disease becomes more severe. “Memorial’s participation in the trial is a direct result of the healthcare system’s ascension as an academic medical center with the expertise and patient volumes required of host facilities,” said Dr. Roberts.