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Posts Tagged ‘nejm partnet a study’

There was a time  , even  cardiac catheterisation was contraindicated if the aortic valve  is  significantly calcified. LV angiogram was judiciously  avoided in all such patients . Why ? A significant increase in disabling strokes were witnessed .Those were the time  a sense of  fear (common sense ?)   prevailed . Every one was following this dictum with sanctity .

Now in 2010 .TAVI has  arrived with great fanfare . We not only cross the calcific valve , we literally play  a violent contact sport   in the aortic root  for over two hours with all sorts of pushes  and passes  on  a  fragile valve.And  we are happy to  claim that  stroke rate is comparable to aortic valve surgery and TAVI is not-inferior to AVR in high risk surgeries .

How is this possible ? As the times  changed ?  Is it true , our stroke  fears are just imaginations  or have we lost our  faculty of  reasoning and  sense ? (Will it be logical to  fund a research  if someone claims a  surgical  technique  to replace  aortic valve in  a beating heart without aortic cross clamping !)

Data shows  even if  distal protection devices are  used the stroke rates  can reach to  objectionable levels .It remained  a mystery ,  at least to me how no body was  questioning this ? I was happy to find this editorial in NEJM which  just stopped  short  of   banishing  this modality in its current form.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe1103978

What price it asks ?  and leaves the readers to guess  the answer ? NEJM wants to be too decent and polite , but in science politeness is generally not required  ,  as long as  your  observations are  correct !

For all those enthusiastic  interventional cardiologists  here is  a positive message .

Nothing comes easy in science.Great  inventions do have problems  initially .  Without  major hurdles  there can be no progress ! It is  because of   you  modern cardiology is making giant strides . Remember  the early days of angioplasty , early days of pacemaker  .  But  please realise  the most important issue  is ,  whatever  we   innovate or discover it  should be shown   superior to the  best  existing modality in all aspects(Technique,  procedural  complications, long term  outcome ,costs, side effects etc  ) .It is awful  to note   new drugs or devices  are  rarely compared with  the best treatment that is currently available .

A  new  treatment that simply  complements  or proves  non-inferiority  can never be considered an invention. How can we   portray radio frequency  renal denervation (  a complex  lab procedure ) for controlling blood pressure   as a great innovation for man kind  while we  have   so many drugs and  modalities  available  at a fraction of the cost  with  little  consequence .

Reference

http://www.escardio.org/congresses/esc-2009/news/Pages/Transcatheter-Aortic-Valve-Implantation.aspx

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