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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement in Europe: Adoption Trends and Factors Influencing Device Utilization

Valvular Heart Disease

Objectives  The authors sought to examine the adoption of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in Western Europe and investigate factors that may influence the heterogeneous use of this therapy.

Background Since its commercialization in 2007, the number of TAVR procedures has grown exponentially.
Methods  The adoption of TAVR was investigated in 11 European countries: Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, and Ireland. Data were collected from 2 sources: 1) lead physicians submitted nation-specific registry data; and 2) an implantation-based TAVR market tracker. Economic indexes such as healthcare expenditure per capita, sources of healthcare funding, and reimbursement strategies were correlated to TAVR use. Furthermore, we assessed the extent to which TAVR has penetrated its potential patient population.

Results Between 2007 and 2011, 34,317 patients underwent TAVR. Considerable variation in TAVR use existed across nations. In 2011, the number of TAVR implants per million individuals ranged from 6.1 in Portugal to 88.7 in Germany (33 ± 25). The annual number of TAVR implants performed per center across nations also varied widely (range 10 to 89). The weighted average TAVR penetration rate was low: 17.9%. Significant correlation was found between TAVR use and healthcare spending per capita (r = 0.80; p = 0.005). TAVR-specific reimbursement systems were associated with higher TAVR use than restricted systems (698 ± 232 vs. 213 ± 112 implants/million individuals ≥75 years; p = 0.002).

Conclusions The authors' findings indicate that TAVR is underutilized in high and prohibitive surgical risk patients with severe aortic stenosis. National economic indexes and reimbursement strategies are closely linked with TAVR use and help explain the inequitable adoption of this therapy.

Notes to editor

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;62(3):210-219
The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.