Surgical Valve Replacement Vs. Transcatheter Heart Valve Surgery

Many aortic valve stenosis patients come to me with the false assumption that transcatheter heart valve treatments are preferable to minimally invasive surgical aortic valve replacements. We want to set the record straight that the very best option for most patients is the minimally invasive heart valve replacement. THV treatments come with a large set of risks and is much more dangerous than surgical aortic valve replacements. 

  • THV is not approved by the FDA for treatment of aortic valve stenosis unless patients are a very high and prohibitive risk for a surgical AVR.

Surgical aortic valve replacement is a much better and safer therapy than transcatheter heart valve surgery in the overwhelming majority of aortic valve disease cases.

  • THV carries a risk of stroke that is up to four times higher than surgical AVR.

For this reason, I do not know of any heart surgeon in good faith and in his right mind who would choose a THV rather than a surgical AVR for himself.

  • There is no guarantee that the valve used in transcatheter heart valve surgery will last as long as the bioprosthetic valves currently used in surgical methods.

There are not sufficient follow up data to support how long the valve will last with THV. We currently have decades of follow up data on most surgical prosthetic valves.

  • THV has a much higher incidence of perivalvular leak (a leak between the THV valve and the implant site).

In surgical aortic valve replacement, perivalvular leaks are extremely rare.

  • If the groin arteries are small or heavily calcified, the risk of serious injuries when the THV catheter is deployed through them is high.
  • THV has a higher mortality rate when compared to surgical AVR.

Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement

The best and least invasive current option remains a minimally invasive AVR through a 2′ incision on the side of the chest in between the ribs, without breaking any bones.

This is still the safest, least invasive, and more definitive treatment available for aortic stenosis. Most patients are discharged home in the same or even less time it would take to send an uncomplicated THV patient home.

If you or a loved one may be interested in learning more about the benefits of surgical valve replacement, contact us today. Call now at (330) 363-1341 or fill out our online contact form.

A picture of Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD wearing his Mercy One doctor attire.

About the Author

Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD Director is an expert in Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery and Bloodless Heart Surgery is the outcome of his commitment to the development and improvement of both of these techniques. He runs a Cardiothoracic Surgery practice and manages Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program where he cares for patients from all over the country and locally. Click here to learn more about Dr. Ciuffo.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Thoracic Surgery