Safety and operational efficiency of restructuring and redeploying a transcatheter aortic valve replacement service during the COVID-19 pandemic: The Oxford experience.
Joseph J., Kotronias RA., Estrin-Serlui T., Cahill TJ., Kharbanda RK., Newton JD., Grebenik C., Dawkins S., Banning AP.
BACKGROUND: The risk of nosocomial COVID-19 infection for vulnerable aortic stenosis patients and intensive care resource utilization has led to cardiac surgery deferral. Untreated severe symptomatic aortic stenosis has a dismal prognosis. TAVR offers an attractive alternative to surgery as it is not reliant on intensive care resources. We set out to explore the safety and operational efficiency of restructuring a TAVR service and redeploying it to a new non-surgical site during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: The institutional prospective service database was retrospectively interrogated for the first 50 consecutive elective TAVR cases prior to and after our institution's operational adaptations for the COVID-19 pandemic. Our endpoints were VARC-2 defined procedural complications, 30-day mortality or re-admission and service efficiency metrics. RESULTS: The profile of patients undergoing TAVR during the pandemic was similar to patients undergoing TAVR prior to the pandemic with the exception of a lower mean age (79 vs 82 years, p < 0.01) and median EuroScore II (3.1% vs 4.6%, p = 0.01). The service restructuring and redeployment contributed to the pandemic-mandated operational efficiency with a reduction in the distribution of pre-admission hospital visits (3 vs 3 visits, p < 0.001) and the time taken from TAVR clinic to procedure (26 vs 77 days, p < 0.0001) when compared to the pre-COVID-19 service. No statistically significant difference was noted in peri-procedural complications and 30-day outcomes, while post-operative length of stay was significantly reduced (2 vs 3 days, p < 0.0001) when compared to pre-COVID-19 practice. CONCLUSIONS: TAVR service restructuring and redeployment to align with pandemic-mandated healthcare resource rationalization is safe and feasible.