This week in Mexicali Surgery


No – I haven’t changed the name of the blog, just reflecting the nature of my current assignment.  Spending some time in Interventional Cardiology this week as part of a story I am writing about chest pain emergencies for Mexico on my mind.com.  Today, I checked out the cath lab at Hispano Americano Hospital.  It’s a bit crowded, but all the equipment is brand-spanking new, and practically sparkling.  (Don’t worry – I have photos to prove it!)

Nurses in the cath lab at Hospital Hispano Americano

Dr. Fernando Monge was kind of enough to give me a guided tour.  While we were there he (assisted by Dr. Raul Aguilera) placed a stent in a patient with recurrent angina.  A doctor from the ER also stopped by to have him review a couple EKGs..  I’ll post a link when the full story is done.

Also stopped in to talk to Dr. Jose Antonio Olivares Felix, MD, a general surgeon who reports to me that he is doing single port laparoscopy – so of course, that got me interested.  Hoping to set a date to go to the operating room.

I’ll be spending all of tomorrow in the company of Dr. Marnes Molina, MD to learn more about some of the other stuff he’s doing in urology (and hopefully grab a picture of that green laser!)

Advertisements

Six month TAVI/TAVR data released


The Core Valve by Medtronic

Medtronic, the makers and financial backers of a recent study on the Core Valve used for percutaneous aortic valve replacement (aka non-surgical valve replacement) released their findings showing the six month mortality data on patients receiving this valve.

This study which was performed using data from European cardiologists (who have been using this technology longer) were unsurprising – with a higher risk of stroke and overall mortality.  Notably, this study was performed on patients deemed to be ‘at high risk’ for surgery, not ineligible for surgery.  As we’ve discussed before, the term ‘high risk’ is open to considerable interpretation.

A total of 996 frail, elderly patients at high risk for heart surgery were  implanted with Medtronic’s CoreValve device, used to treat severe narrowing of  the aortic valve. Mortality rates at one month and six months were 4.5% and  12.8%, respectively. Stroke rates were 2.9% and 3.4%.

Medtronic said the rates  were consistent with previously reported data from national registries in Europe.”

Unfortunately, the general media’s coverage of these findings have been less than straightforward as Bloomberg proclaims in blazing headlines, “Edwards heart valve skirts rib-cracking for a 2.5 billion dollar market.”  That’s a pretty eye-opening headline that manages to avoid mentioning the real issues – longevity and durability.

Another article from business week proclaims, “Heart Valves found safe.”  Safe, I guess is a relative term – if you aren’t one of the 12.8% that died within six months..

Illustration showing the core valve in place

More about Aortic Stenosis and Valve Replacement therapies at Cartagena Surgery:  (you can also find a link to these stories under the TAVI tab on the sidebar.)

Aortic Stenosis as Heinz 57

More patients need surgery

Aortic Stenosis, surgery and the elderly

Aortic stenosis and TAVI

Aortic Stenosis: New Recommendations for TAVI

Transcatheter Valve Therapies: an overview

TAVI and long-term outcomes

Peri-operative outcomes with TAVI

Talking about TAVI/ TAVR with Dr. Kevin Brady

Will Medicare cover TAVI?

Transcatheter Valve Therapy – (TAVI) overview


Here’s some follow-up information on the current recommendations / guidelines from the ACC (cardiologists) and STS (cardiac surgeons) on the use of TAVI or catheter-based therapies for the treatment of valvular disease.

Read it for yourself and let me know what you think, but I find it to be a nice, concisely worded document that clearly delineates and spells out the current role of TAVI therapies as a limited therapy for specific populations – at least until we have long-term outcome data.  (We can look to Europe and observe their outcomes, in part).

Not for young people, not for people who could withstand surgery (as determined by a surgeon/ sts risk calculator).  Not as part of an ‘easy fix’ mentality that winds up slapping us (and the patient) in the face a few years later.

Let’s hope that all the interventionists keep to the fundamental principles outlined here, as part of our commitment to patient care, safety and well-being.

Re-posted from Cardiosource.com

Title:         Transcatheter Valve Therapy: A Professional Society Overview From the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons
        Date Posted:         June 27, 2011
        Authors:         Holmes DR Jr, Mack MJ.
        Citation: J Am Coll Cardiol 2011;Jun 27:[Epub ahead of print].
 Perspective:

The following are 10 points to remember about this expert consensus document on transcatheter valve therapy:

1. Transcatheter valve therapy is a transformational technology with the potential to significantly impact the clinical management of patients with valvular heart disease.

2. Although the initial experience is positive, evidence exists from only one randomized clinical trial in patients with aortic stenosis and one in patients with mitral insufficiency.

3. Adoption of these techniques to populations beyond those studied in these randomized trials, therefore, is not appropriate at the current time.

4. It will be important to establish regional centers of excellence for heart valve diseases. Criteria for centers performing interventional therapy in valvular and structural heart disease should be established, and the availability of devices and reimbursement for those procedures should be limited to those centers meeting those criteria.

5. The heart team approach should be used with formation of multidisciplinary heart teams within these centers led by primary cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and interventional cardiologists.

6. Performance of isolated procedures without construction of a dedicated valve therapy program to encompass all aspects of care—including preprocedural assessment in common clinics, joint procedure performance, and common patient care pathways—is not recommended.

7. A national registry of valvular heart disease to perform post-market surveillance, long-term outcome measurement, and comparative effectiveness research should be established. This could be accomplished by linking the ACC’s NCDR® and STS clinical databases to the Social Security Death Master file and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrative databases in a national ‘research engine.’ This will, in effect, create a national registry of valvular heart disease.

8. Training and credentialing criteria for practitioners in this field need to be developed. Development of criteria for the formation of fellowship programs, as well as postgraduate training with appropriate experience for adequate patient care leading to guidelines for credentialing, is currently underway by multiple professional societies working together.

9. Interpretation of the current evidence by expert consensus documents and appropriate use criteria need to be developed.

10. With society leadership, multidisciplinary partnerships, and cooperation, a reasoned, balanced introduction of this new therapy can be accomplished.