A year into the PARTNER trial, there has been no shortage of enthusiasm around the project. The study has screened around 200 patients, with about 40 qualifying for the surgical portion of the study. Washington University physicians have implanted 19 limited thoracotomy devices so far, and Barnes-Jewish is one of 18 hospitals performing the transapical approach.
Many of the subjects included in the study are those who were inoperable or who have been refused for traditional surgery. This is possible because of the minimally invasive approach to the surgery. Surgeons never arrest the heart and through three-centimeter incisions can isolate the area.
The clinical trial, called the PARTNER trial (Placement of AoRTic traNscathetER valves), will eventually enroll about 600 patients at up to 15 sites across the United States. The second portion of the trial, onsisting wholly of patients with severe aortic stenosis who are considered unlikely to survive open-heart surgery, is now underway.