Non-transfemoral access sites for transcatheter aortic valve replacement
Transfemoral access is currently the standard and preferred access site for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), though novel approaches are emerging to expand treatment options for the increasing numbers of patients with a contraindication for the traditional route. Previous publications have provided comparisons between two TAVR access sites, primarily transfemoral versus one of the novel approaches, while others have compared three or four novel approaches. The aim of this report is to provide a comprehensive summary of publications that analyse and compare the six non-transfemoral access sites currently described in the literature. These include the transapical, transaortic, axillary/subclavian, brachiocephalic, transcarotid, and transcaval approaches. Though there remains little consensus as to the superiority or non-inferiority of TAVR approaches, and there has yet to be randomized clinical trials to support published findings, with careful patient and procedural selection, outcomes for novel approaches have been reported to be comparable to standard transfemoral access when performed by skilled physicians. As such, choice of procedure is primarily based on registry data and the judgement of surgical teams as to which approach is best in each individual case. As TAVR continues to be an increasingly widespread treatment, search for the optimal access site will grow, and focus should be placed on the importance of educating surgeons as to all possible approaches so they may review and chose the most appropriate technique for a given patient.