Learning curves for transfemoral transcatheter aortic valve replacement in the PARTNER-I trial: Technical performance

Oluseun Alli, Charanjit S. Rihal, Rakesh M. Suri, Kevin L. Greason, Ron Waksman, Sa'Ar Minha, Rebecca Torguson, Augusto D. Pichard, Michael Mack, Lars G. Svensson, Jeevanantham Rajeswaran, Ashley M. Lowry, John Ehrlinger, E. Murat Tuzcu, Vinod H. Thourani, Raj Makkar, Eugene H. Blackstone, Martin B. Leon, David Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objectives To assess technical performance learning curves of teams performing transfemoral transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TF-TAVR). Background TF-TAVR is a new procedure for treating severe aortic stenosis. The number of cases required for procedural efficiency is unknown. Methods In the PARTNER-I trial, 1,521 patients underwent TF-TAVR from 4/2007-2/2012. Learning curve analysis of technical performance metrics was performed using institution-specific patient sequence number, interval between procedures, and institutional trial entry date. Learning curve characteristics were assessed using semi-parametric and parametric mixed-effects models. Results As patient sequence number increased, average procedure time decreased from 154 to 85 minutes (P < 0.0001), and fluoroscopy time from 28 to 20 minutes (P < 0.0001). Procedure time plateaued at an average of 83 minutes (range 52-140). Procedure time plateau was dynamic during the course of the trial, averaging 25 cases (range 21-52) by its end. The later institutions enrolled in the trial, the shorter the initial procedure time. During the trial, percutaneous rather than surgical access increased from 7.9% to 69%. Conclusions Technical performance learning curves exist for TF-TAVR; procedural efficiency increased with experience, with concomitant decreases in radiation and contrast media exposure. The number of cases needed to achieve efficiency decreased progressively, with optimal procedural performance reached after approximately 25 cases for late-entering institutions. Knowledge and experience accumulated by early TF-TAVR institutions were disseminated, shortening the learning curve of late-entering institutions. Technological advances resulting from learning during the trial moved the field from initial conservative surgical cut-down to percutaneous access for most patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-162
Number of pages9
JournalCatheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • learning curve
  • procedural efficiency
  • transfemoral transcatheter aortic valve replacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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