DETROIT, April 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A major new study presented today at the yearly scientific meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in New Orleans shows conclusively that replacing defective aortic valves in elderly patients through non-invasive "catheterization" – rather than through much more invasive open-heart surgery – leads to significantly better outcomes.
The new clinical trial study (PARTNER cohort A: Transcatheter valves noninferior to surgery), documents important scientific evidence for the fact that a new "transcatheter" approach to aortic heart valve replacement is safer and less strenuous for older patients than the older open-heart procedure.
The new high-tech method of implanting replacement aortic heart valves relies on delivering them to the heart via plastic catheters threaded through arteries, rather than implanting them after cutting through the chest.
The results of the large, authoritative study, presented at the ACC meeting – and conducted among 699 elderly patients at 26 sites in the U.S., Canada and Germany – confirmed that delivering new synthetic heart valves to elderly patients suffering from "aortic stenosis" (age-related valve-narrowing) via catheter tubes results in fewer deaths and about four times less severe bleeding than when the valves are delivered via traditional "chest-cracking" open-heart surgery.
The study is certain to have a major impact on interventional cardiac care, since it documents the importance of non-surgical approaches to heart valve replacement in elderly patients who are often too weak or impaired by disease conditions to endure the older form of chest surgery.
"The findings that were presented today in New Orleans are very significant for older patients who need aortic valve replacement," said Theodore L. Schreiber, M.D., the president of the CVI and a catheterization pioneer who was the