Conventional aortic valve replacement (AVR) surgery has been in clinical use since 1960. Results, particularly in high-risk populations such as the very elderly and frail, continue to improve in response to the challenges posed by this growing segment of the patient population. Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a fairly recent development, performed for the first time in 2002. The last decade has seen an exponential growth in the application of this technology in higher-risk populations. Results of recent randomized prospective trials demonstrate both the future promise and current problems of the TAVI approach. Many patients deemed inoperable for AVR have been treated successfully by TAVI. However, elevated procedural and late mortality rates, excessive early and late stroke, and a significant incidence of periprosthetic aortic valve insufficiency and patient-prosthesis mismatch all suggest caution in extending this technology to patients able to undergo conventional AVR with a low risk of early or late complications.
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