Archive for July, 2016

The concept of TAVR(Trancutaneous aortic valve replacement ) is trying hard  to prevail over surgical aortic valve replacement .Two companies Medtronic and Edwards life have their products (Core and Sapiens)  tested and used with varying success.Meanwhile, Boston scientific has come out with a new one , Lotus valve made with stainless steel and bovine pericardium.


lotus valve tavr

Lotus valve  seems to have a distinct  advantage* (over the Core and Sapiens ) in terms of easy delivery and adjustment (or retrieval ) of valve till  final position and efficient adoptive steel technology in preventing para-valvular leak.

* Outcome awaited.

Human  trials has started with lotus valve in USA 2014.The REPRISE III trial would compare  one to one Lotus vs core valve . Results will be out by 2017.Unlike many interventions the utility value and long-term outcome of  TAVR  seem to be genuine and patients  waiting for aortic valve surgery can look forward to this as a genuine non surgical alternative.

Responding to this , Medtronic and Edwards are  improving upon core valve with Evolute R /Engager and SAPIEN3 , expected  to give a tough time for LOTUS.


1.RESPOND registry , REPRISE 1, 2 and 3 trials

2.A review article on TAVR 

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Less than a century ago an easy chair  was enough to manage this most important medical emergency of mankind. Of course, at that time mortality of STEMI was estimated to be around 30%.We have since pushed the in-hospital death rate down to less than 10 %  and its around 5-8% currently.(*The lifeless chairs were able to save 70 lives is a different story!)

Heparin , thrombolytic agents, critical coronary care has helped us to achieve this , of course It must be admitted primary PCI also played a small role (at best 1 % ) in our fight against this number one killer.

Now, why not combine  both lysis and PCI ?

The concept of PIA (Pharmaco Invasive approach) came into vogue  primarily for two reasons.

1.If thrombolysis and  pPCI are powerful strategies by individual merits why not combine both and achieve double the benefit ?

2. Since pPCI is going to be a logistical nightmare in most points of care and we can’t afford to lose time . So, let us lyse first and consider PCI later !

Unfortunately medical science is not math .One plus one in medicine is rarely two !

Though , it looks attractive , Pharmaco invasive approach  has its own troubles.Fortunately , most of them are man-made, few are beyond our knowledge though.

Following general rules  may help us

  • STEMI  should ideally managed by early thrombolysis (or PCI) in all deserving patients.
  • Don’t wait for PCI if you think , there will be delay or reduced expertise and poor track record of the center in this modality.
  • Pharmaco invasive  therapy is not a default in all STEMI .Do good quality , monitored  lysis , (Not necessarily new generation thrombolytic .(I prefer one hour sustained thrombolytic regimen , not the hit or miss bolus) .As a learned cardiologist we need to assess individual patients according to the type and risk of MI.Its not wise to blindly follow the guidelines ,because these guidelines , though based on evidence never answers a query in a single patient perspective !

The key “branch points”  in decision making  after lysis

  • Invasive strategy  should begin within one hour if the patient has failed  thrombolysis and has developed any mechanical issues.( Mind you, LVF requires good medical stabilization .Rushing  such patients to cath lab without application of mind can be disastrous )
  • If the Initial  lysis is excellent and the patient is asymptomatic  one need not proceed with invasive limb at all.(A significant chunk of apparently failed lysis by ECG are asymptomatic and comfortable , these are patients require delicate assessment regarding further intervention. )
  • If the MI is large and the clinical  stability is “not confirmed” one may  proceed urgently within 24 h.
  • In any case there is no role for invasive approach after 24 hours* Unless fresh ischemia  suspected to come from IRA or  non IRA.
  • Having  said that, there are many centers that do a diagnostic  angiogram alone just prior to discharge  (48-72h) for risk stratification and then take a genuine call for a possible PCI or  CABG. In my opinion it appears a sensible strategy , though a non invasive stress  test pre/post discharge can even avoid that  coronary angiogram !

One issue with Rescue PIA

Though by current definition  PIA is to be done  3-24 hours , don’t wait for the 4th hour if you have recognized a failed thrombolysis earlier than three hours.( Ofcourse , as the gap between P and I gets too narrowed it may  carry some adverse  effects witnessed in routine facilitated PCI -Refer FINESSE study ) Similarly,there need not be a blanket ban on PCI beyond 24 hours if residual ischemia is active.

Final message

PIA is a dynamic  coronary  re -perfusion strategy . Nothing is fixed in science. . The optimal gap between Pharmaco and invasive strategy  can be anywhere between  1 hour to “Infinitely deferred” depending upon individual risk perception and wisdom of the treating cardiologist.





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It was delicate few minutes  in one of  my recent  visits to a corporate hospital , when I noticed an emergency physician  hesitated to follow my advice to  prescribe IV Digoxin for a patient with  Atrial fibrillation and fast ventricular rate.His fear was, his consultant, a modern day cardiologist wouldn’t like it as Amiodarone has become a default drug for atrial fibrillation in that Institution. I could sense. . .he felt so out of place to take on my suggestion.

I reminded the young physician , the uniqueness  of  Digoxin and its  un-diminished value for this particular indication ,still he was reluctant and didn’t oblige.

I realised , it was my mistake to expect  a place for the humble fox glove in corporate crash-carts of centrally climate controlled  cardiology suits !

“Medicine need to be practiced   not only with best science(Truth) but also in a holistic and  cost efficient manner . There is no place for glamor, glitter  and commerce in your prescriptions !  In near future , teaching Medicine to students would  essentially  become  “more of moral” than “science” .


Link -Which is the best combination for rate control in Atrial fibrillation

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