Background — There has been rapid growth in the demand for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which has the potential to overwhelm current capacity. This imbalance between demand and capacity may lead to prolonged wait times, and subsequent adverse outcomes while patients are on the waitlist. We sought to understand the relationship between regional differences in capacity, TAVR wait times and morbidity/mortality on the waitlist.
Methods and Results — We modelled the effect of TAVR capacity, defined as the number of TAVR procedures per million residents/region, on the hazard of having a TAVR in Ontario from April 2012 to March 2017. Our primary outcome was the time from referral to a TAVR procedure or other off-list reasons on the waitlist/end of the observation period as measured in days. Clinical outcomes of interest were all-cause mortality, all-cause hospitalisations or heart failure-related hospitalisations while on the waitlist for TAVR. There was an almost fourfold difference in TAVR capacity across the 14 regions in Ontario, ranging from 31.5 to 119.5 TAVR procedures per million residents. The relationship between TAVR capacity and wait times was complex and non-linear. In general, increased capacity was associated with shorter wait times (p<0.001), reduced mortality (HR 0.94; p=0.08) and all-cause hospitalisations (p=0.009).
Conclusions — The results of the present study have important policy implications, suggesting that there is a need to improve TAVR capacity, as well as develop wait-time strategies to triage patients, in order to decrease wait times and mitigate the hazard of adverse patient outcomes while on the waitlist.
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