Fifteen years ago, the technique of transcatheter implantation of aortic valves (TAVI) was born.
After many years of research, we could perform the first ever TAVI case in Rouen in 2002. This innovative technology has opened a revolutionary, less invasive way of treating aortic stenosis in patients at high risk for conventional surgery. At the beginning, the technology faced a fierce opposition from experts, the majority being cardiothoracic surgeons. They were all staunch detractors of these “totally unrealistic and stupid idea” that will “never work”. It took a lot of self-conviction, courage and perseverance to knock down the wall of such opposition.
The first in-human implantation was performed on 16 April 2002 in a 57-year-old desperately ill man in cardiogenic shock, with critical AS, inoperable because of multiple comorbidities.
He presented with most current contraindications of TAVI: ejection fraction 12%, intraventricular thrombus, and subacute ischaemia of the leg due to a failed aorto-bifemoral graft. This patient had been turned down by three surgical teams. After a failed emergent BAV, TAVI appeared to us the only life-saving option for this young patient. He and his relatives were ready to accept any first in-human experimental treatment.
TAVI, has faced a lot of challenges and achieved great success. Widely accepted by the medical community today, TAVI has been performed in about 300,000 patients worldwide, with an annual compound growth rate of 40%. It is now available in 65 countries around the world. Fifteen years after the first human case, TAVI is still one of the major medical breakthroughs in cardiology.
I and our cardiology team still train cardiologists all over the world on a simplified “minimalist” transfemoral TAVI procedure. To see the next available TAVI training, please visit www.invivox.com.
Let’s meet in the cath-lab!
Pr. Alain Cribier