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Herz. 2009 Aug;34(5):347-56. doi: 10.1007/s00059-009-3264-z.

Technique of transcatheter aortic valve implantation with the Edwards-Sapien heart valve using the transfemoral approach.

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Department of Cardiology, Rouen University, Hospital Charles, Nicolle and INSERM 144, Rouen, France.


Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) using a balloon-expandable valve has been developed by the authors' group 7 years ago to offer a therapeutic solution to nonoperable or surgical high-risk patients with degenerative aortic stenosis. The technique and the devices used have rapidly evolved thereafter and TAVI has become a clinical reality with more than 3,500 patients implanted worldwide with this device. The currently used Edwards-Sapien Transcatheter Heart Valve (THV) consists of a balloon-expandable stent with an integrated bovine pericardial valve. It can be implanted within the diseased native aortic valve using either the retrograde transfemoral or antegrade transapical routes. This article is aimed at describing the updated transfemoral technique. Appropriate patient selection is crucial for a successful procedure including close evaluation of the arterial characteristics. After predilatation of the native valve with a balloon catheter, the THV with its delivery system is introduced within the femoral artery, advanced to the native aortic valve under X-ray control, positioned across the aortic annulus, and delivered by balloon inflation under rapid heart pacing. The acute procedural success is 96% and the technique leads to an immediate and lasting improvement of hemodynamics and clinical status. Complications are rare and the mortality rate is 6.3% at 1 month in this cohort of very sick patients. Procedural complications are headed by vascular injury related to the large size of the arterial introducers. An upcoming lower- profile Edwards THV should improve this issue and increase the indication for this less invasive approach in the near future. At the present time, the indications should be restricted to nonoperable or surgical high-risk patients and the procedure performed by experienced and formally trained physicians working in an optimal multidisciplinary environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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