OBJECTIVES: Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a new option for patients with severe aortic stenosis at high surgical risk. The standard retrograde approach through the femoral artery is contraindicated in case of unfavorable iliofemoral anatomy or extensive disease. In these patients, a trans-subclavian approach may be feasible.
METHODS: Between June 2007 and July 2009, TAVI with the CoreValve bioprosthesis (Medtronic, Minneapolis, Minn) was performed in 514 consecutive patients at 13 Italian hospitals, using the subclavian approach in 54 cases.
RESULTS: The median logistic EuroSCORE was significantly higher in the subclavian (19.4; interquartile range, 12.5 to 29.8) versus femoral group (25.3; interquartile range, 15.1 to 36.6) (P=0.03), as well as the rate of comorbidities. Procedural success was obtained in 100% versus 98.4% of the subclavian versus femoral groups, respectively (P=0.62), with intraprocedural mortality of 0% versus 0.9% (P=1.00). The most common in-hospital complications were a new left bundle-branch block (22.4%) and the need for pacemaker (16.3%). No specific complications for the subclavian access (vessel rupture, vertebral or internal mammary ischemia) were reported. The learning curve for the subclavian approach led to a wider use of local anesthesia. Thirty-day mortality was 0% versus 6.1% in the subclavian versus femoral groups, respectively (P=0.13). Six-month mortality rate was 9.4% versus 15.8% (P=0.44), whereas valve-related adverse events were 13.6% versus 13.9% (P=0.79). \
CONCLUSIONS: TAVI through the subclavian approach appeared feasible and safe, with excellent procedural success and low in-hospital complication rates. This new technique allows patients with contraindications to the femoral approach to be treated with TAVI.
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