Kiefer et al. The role of the heart team in complicated transcatheter aortic valve implantation: a 7-year single-centre experience. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2015 May 19;47(6):1090–6.

Objectives: European guidelines recommend to perform transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) within a multidisciplinary heart team. However, there is a strong drive—despite existing guidelines—to perform TAVI outside of specialized centres. The aim of this study was to clarify the necessity of on-site cardiac surgery by providing a clear insight into the complications during/after TAVI that needed surgical management.

Methods: A total of 2287 (1523 transfemoral, 752 transapical and 12 transaortic) patients, with a mean age of 84.5 ± 5.3 years, and a mean log EuroSCORE of 21.7 ± 16.3, of which 205 were female (84%), underwent TAVI since February 2006 at our institution. All procedure-related complications that required surgical interventions, whether immediate or delayed but within the initial hospital stay, were recorded and retrospectively analysed.

Results: Out of this cohort, 245 (10.7%) patients required surgical treatment due to major complications. A total of 42 patients (1.8%) underwent conversion to full sternotomy and 27 (1.2%) were dependent on the short-term use of the heart–lung machine. Vascular complications with surgical intervention were seen in 85 patients (3.7%), 54 patients (2.4%) had to have a rethoracotomy within their initial stay and 15 (0.7%) required a cardiac reoperation.

Conclusions: Severe complications during TAVI that can only be resolved surgically will continue to occur. Therefore, each TAVI procedure should be conducted or accompanied by a cardiac surgeon and an experienced team within a specialized centre.