March 2nd, 2012

Four Cardiovascular Societies Release Criteria for TAVR Programs and Operators

A newly released statement contains detailed recommendations about the requirements necessary for hospitals and physicians to participate in transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)  programs. The expert consensus document was released jointly by the American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF), the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) and the Society for Thoracic Surgeons (STS).

The statement is the latest result of the coordinated effort from medical societies and regulators to effect a smooth introduction of this potentially disruptive new technology. The same four societies earlier released a consensus document that provided a roadmap for the uptake of TAVR in the U.S., which was followed soon thereafter by the release from CMS of details of its proposed national coverage for TAVR.

The document emphasizes “a formal collaborative effort between cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons as the cornerstone for establishing a successful program, noting that a program without both specialties would be fundamentally deficient,” according to a press release issued by the societies.

The statement contains specific details about:

  • Annual heart (aortic valve) surgery and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) volume requirements for institutions.
  • Board certification and procedural requirements for both surgeons and interventional cardiologists.
  • Monitoring of complication rates and institutional follow up.
  • Participation in a national registry that will include enrollment of all patients undergoing TAVR with continued tracking of outcomes.
  • Commitment to a heart team concept that is led by the surgeon and interventional cardiologist and made up of a formal collaborative effort among all medical team members. In all TAVR procedures, the interventional cardiologist and surgeon must both be present during the entire procedure ensuring joint participation and optimal patient-centered care.

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