Physician's perspectives and attitudes toward surgical bailout in transcatheter aortic valve replacement

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2 Scopus citations


Objectives: The incidence of surgical bailout during transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is ∼1%, with an associated 50% in-hospital mortality. We performed an exploratory qualitative study of TAVR team perceptions regarding routine surgical bailout planning with patients. Methods: We developed a semistructed interview guide to explore clinician perspectives on the TAVR consent process, managing intraoperative emergencies, and involving patients in surgical contingency planning. We interviewed surgeons, cardiologists, and anesthesiologists involved with TAVR in 4 hospitals. We performed qualitative thematic analysis via independent coding of salient quotations from the transcribed texts. Codes were categorized based on shared meaning and the final themes were derived by identifying key content, and examining its relational nature. Results: Thirteen interviews were conducted, identifying 4 major themes. Participants agreed that eliciting patient preference for bailout is crucial, particularly when surgical outcome is ambiguous. In those cases, participants offered criteria for determining which patients should be engaged in a more nuanced discussion. The ethos of specialty clinicians impacted anticipation and response to procedural emergencies. Finally, physician attitudes reflected strong emotional responses to patient death/morbidity, particularly in iatrogenic injury. Participants expressed anxiety with performing TAVR without surgical backup, while also demonstrating willingness to respect patients' wishes. Conclusions: The TAVR team supports engaging patients regarding potential surgical bailout and honoring their preferences in the event of complication. However, clinical judgment about the expected outcome of bailout would frame that discussion. Participants described the emotional weight of not pursuing bailout if indicated and the importance of good coping mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-81
Number of pages8
JournalJTCVS Open
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Gretchen Swartchze, MD, for her mentorship of this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)


  • intraoperative emergencies
  • shared decision-making
  • surgical palliative care
  • transcatheter aortic valve replacement


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