TAVI now available for more patients living with severe aortic stenosis

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A minimally invasive and non-surgical intervention is now available through Medicare for more privately insured patients with severe aortic stenosis.

The listing for transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) has been expanded to include patients deemed at intermediate surgical risk.

An estimated 97,000 Australians are living with severe aortic stenosis. People aged 65 years and over are the most affected. If not identified, and treated, more than 50 per cent of those with severe aortic stenosis may die within two years.

According to Dr Yohan Chacko, an interventional cardiologist at Greenslopes Private Hospital, TAVI may offer significant benefits over surgery for those living with severe aortic stenosis.

“Compared with surgical aortic valve replacement, TAVI offers reduced procedural time, less time in hospital, a shorter recovery period, lower risk of complications and improved quality of life.

“In addition, many patients undergoing TAVI are often discharged within 48 hours, offering meaningful patient benefits regarding time in hospital and recovery, compared to surgery.”

Aortic stenosis is under-diagnosed and under-treated in Australia with approximately 90 per cent of patients not receiving treatment.

Economic modelling in the recently published whitepaper, ‘Our Hidden Ageing – Time to Listen to the Heart’, developed by experts at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, revealed that offering a TAVI to those aged 65 years and over could potentially prevent $117 million in productivity loss in a single year due to withdrawal from productive activities.