Washington: There is now a safe and viable alternative to general anesthesia for people undergoing a minimally invasive heart procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, according to a recent study.
In the research, the patients who underwent conscious sedation, a type of anesthesia in which patients remain awake but are sleepy and pain-free, had a similar rate of adverse events to those who underwent anesthesia, but those who were given conscious sedation had shorter stays in the intensive care unit (30 versus 96 hours for those with general anesthesia) and shorter hospital stays (4.9 days versus 10.4 days).
The direct costs for their care were 28 percent lower, and almost all other medical costs were lower as well. In both groups, 1.5 percent of patients died during hospitalization.
The study was the first to detail the cost differences and outcomes between conscious sedation and general anesthesia during transcatheter aortic valve replacement.
Researchers analyzed records of 196 adult patients who underwent transcatheter aortic valve replacement at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center between August 2012 and June 2016. The researchers write that a large-scale, controlled and randomized study should be conducted to validate their findings.
Based on the study, patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement should receive conscious sedation instead of general anesthesia whenever possible.
The study is published online in the journal PLOS ONE.