UVM Medical Center tests revolutionary heart valve replacement - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

UVM Medical Center tests revolutionary heart valve replacement

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A revolutionary method for replacing aortic valves without surgery is once again being tested at the UVM Medical Center, but this time in lower risk patients.

We first told you about transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR for short, four years ago. It was being tested at UVM as part of a nationwide clinical trial in high-risk patients with congestive heart failure, those who were not good candidates for the traditional open-heart surgery procedure. TAVR, which uses a catheter in a small incision in the groin, was later approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Now, just this month, UVM has launched two more clinical trials with TAVR.

"The first clinical trial is to ask the question in lower risk patients, patients who aren't high risk for surgery, would they benefit from TAVR? Would they benefit from surgery or are they equivalent options-- and let the patient choose. So we're running a large trial here, as part of one of 50 United States centers, where we're randomly assigning patients deemed low risk by our heart surgeons to either surgery or TAVR," said Dr. Harry Dauerman of the UVM Medical Center.

Dauerman says the other study will test the procedure in patients who have some congestive heart failure, but their aortic valves are not yet severely blocked. They expect to enroll about 1,000 patients over the next year.

As for the already approved patient population, the high-risk group, UVM doctors are now replacing about 10 aortic valves with TAVR each month.

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