May 14, 2015- By Steven E. Greer, MD
Stroke is the bane of TAVR. In the Edwards Lifesciences Sapien valve, stroke rates exceed 10%. That, along with perivalvular leaks, resulted in death rates of 30% at two-years.
In the news today, Astronaut and Senator John Glenn announced that he suffered a stroke after his 2014 TAVR performed at the Cleveland Clinic. He most likely received a Sapien valve.
Dr. Marty Leon has been the main champion of this device and is an equity owner in the companies developing TAVR devices. For unknown reasons, companion devices to catch embolic debris during TAVR and prevent it from reaching the brain have not been developed as mandatory steps to TAVR.
Of note, Neil Armstrong, another astronaut and national treasure, was killed after his heart surgery. He received a CABG.