Minerva Cardiol Angiol. 2022 Jun 10. doi: 10.23736/S2724-5683.22.05998-1. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Valvular heart disease (VHD) requires optimized outpatient management that is generally considered to be best delivered by a dedicated, multidisciplinary team (Heart Valve Clinic, HVC). Although HVC is promoted by clinical guidelines and organized in many centers, real world outcome assessments are limited. Thus, we evaluated the performance, clinical and management outcomes during a 6-year experience with an original HVC model.
METHODS: By interrogating the local database, 1047 consecutive patients admitted to the HVC from January 2015 to October 2020 were found. Management and mortality were checked for all patients. After 3 years of HVC activity, in order to improve appropriateness and efficiency, access priority criteria were introduced. Thus, the study population was divided in two Period subgroups (before and after access criteria introduction) that were compared.
RESULTS: A total of 1047 consecutive patients admitted to the HVC constituted the study population; 346 patients (33%) were recommended for invasive treatment. After a mean follow up of 25.7 ± 3.1 months, 37 patients (3.5%) died. When comparing study periods, statistically-significant increase inpatients’ complexity and VHD severity was noticed in Period 2, also translating into higher rate of referral to intervention (39.0% vs. 29.4% in Period 1; p = 0.001). Finally, despite higher rate of elderly and frail patients, operative mortality was not jeopardized.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study reports a comprehensive assessment of the characteristics and outcomes achieved through an original HVC model. Standardization of access criteria supports the HVC improvement.