The Use and Outcomes of Cerebral Protection Devices for Patients Undergoing Transfemoral Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement in Clinical Practice

Peter Stachon, Klaus Kaier, Timo Heidt, Dennis Wolf, Daniel Duerschmied, Dawid Staudacher, Manfred Zehender, Christoph Bode, Constantin von Zur Mühlen
JACC. Cardiovascular Interventions 2021 January 25, 14 (2): 161-168

OBJECTIVES: This study hypothesized that cerebral protection prevents strokes in patients undergoing transfemoral transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in clinical practice.

BACKGROUND: Preventing strokes is an important aim in TAVR procedures. Embolic protection devices may protect against cardiac embolism during TAVR, but their use and outcomes in clinical practice remain controversial.

METHODS: Isolated transfemoral TAVR procedures performed in Germany with or without cerebral protection devices were extracted from a comprehensive nationwide billing dataset.

RESULTS: A total of 41,654 TAVR procedures performed between 2015 and 2017 were analyzed. The overall share of procedures incorporating cerebral protection devices was 3.8%. Patients receiving cerebral protection devices were at increased operative risk (European System for Cardiac Operative Risk Evaluation score 13.8 vs. 14.7; p < 0.001) but of lower age (81.1 vs. 80.6 years; p = 0.001). To compare outcomes that may be related to the use of cerebral protection devices, a propensity score comparison was performed. The use of a cerebral protection device did not reduce the risk for stroke (adjusted risk difference [aRD]: +0.88%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.07% to 1.83%; p = 0.069) or the risk for developing delirium (aRD: +1.31%; 95% CI: -0.28% to 2.89%; p = 0.106) as a sign of acute brain failure. Although brain damage could not be prevented, in-hospital mortality was lower in the group receiving a cerebral protection device (aRD: -0.76%; 95% CI: -1.46% to -0.06%; p = 0.034).

CONCLUSIONS: In this large national database, cerebral embolic protection devices were infrequently used during TAVR procedures. Device use was associated with lower mortality but not a reduction in stroke or delirium. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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