September 19, 2012 — Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive treatment for patients with aortic stenosis who are deemed too high-risk for traditional valve replacement surgery, is on the rise. TAVR relies heavily on echocardiography to provide the most accurate view of heart valves, from diagnosis to post-procedure. In response to criticism by physicians about the restrictiveness of conditions put forth by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for reimbursement for TAVR, the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) has emphasized the importance of heart team quality and experience in ensuring positive patient outcomes.
“ASE supports the emphasis on quality which is embodied in CMS’ decision on TAVR,” noted ASE Advocacy Committee Chair David Wiener, M.D. “The TAVR team approach is in line with the latest guidelines for surgical and percutaneous interventions promulgated by our sister cardiovascular societies, and the concept that specific numbers of procedures must be performed to achieve and maintain competence is one that permeates the medical literature as well as ASE’s own guidelines.”
The "EAE/ASE Recommendations for the Use of Echocardiography in New Transcatheter Interventions for Valvular Heart Disease," a collaborative effort between the ASE and the European Association of Echocardiography (EAE), were published in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography (JASE).
As TAVR technology and the skills of those who perform it continue to grow, the requirement that a heart team work in concert to prepare for, perform and monitor the procedure will ensure the best possible outcomes, and TAVR will be an appropriate option for an increasing number of patients.
ASE’s position will be shared with members when a new biannual member publication, Echo, arrives in member mailboxes in mid-September. The new member news source targets members’ need for practical information on practice management, as well as providing a vehicle for news about member activities, association projects and developments in the field of cardiovascular ultrasound. “Our goal with Echo is to bring relevant information to our members so that they can focus on their patients,” explained ASE President Patricia Pellikka, M.D. “Echocardiography is a valuable and evolving technology, and ASE is constantly seeking new ways to guide our members and this dynamic modality forward.”
For more information: www.asecho.org