Hospital Websites Often Understate Heart Valve Replacement Risks

TAVR Surgery Risks

Written by Faith Anderson on January 21, 2015
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Hospital Websites Often Understate Heart Valve Replacement Risks

U.S. hospital websites often fail to provide patients with accurate information about the potential risk of side effects associated with TAVR surgery.

The findings of a new study suggest that many hospitals fail to provide sufficient warnings for patients about the risks associated with some forms of heart valve replacement surgery. In the study, whose findings were published in a letter to JAMA Internal Medicine on January 12, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Tufts University School of Medicine found that only about one-quarter of hospital websites in the U.S. include accurate information about the risks of undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) surgery, while nearly all of them discussed the potential benefits of the procedure. If you have experienced severe side effects of TAVR surgery, or another potentially dangerous medical procedure, contact a reputable attorney today to explore your possible compensation options.

Potential Side Effects of TAVR Surgery

In the letter to JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers indicated that they examined websites managed by 262 hospitals in the United States that included information about TAVR procedures in May and June of 2014, looking for 11 known risks and 11 potential benefits of the surgery, when compared to an aortic valve replacement. According to their findings, more than 99% of the websites highlighted at least one benefit of TAVR, while only 26% of the websites mentioned any of the known risks associated with the surgery. The potential risk for stroke, which is double that with TAVR than with open aortic valve replacement, was mentioned on 18% of the websites, but only 12% mentioned the risk of death, and only 11% noted that the long-term durability of the replacement valve remains unknown with TAVR.

Patients Not Adequately Warned About Surgery Risks

The aortic valve allows freshly oxygenated blood to leave the heart and travel to the rest of the body, but when the valve is damaged, blood may begin to leak backward into the left ventricle of the heart, potentially causing serious health problems. Until recently, the aortic valve could only be repaired or replaced during open heart surgery, but the FDA recently approved TAVR, which involves the new valve being threaded through a catheter and expanded into place in the heart – a procedure that is less invasive than open heart surgery. However, this new study demonstrates how few of the hospitals in the United States offering TAVR as a surgical option, are actually providing patients with accurate information about the potential risk of side effects associated with the relatively new procedure.

Contact an Experienced Attorney for Legal Help

“Adequate presentation of risks and benefits of medical therapies is essential to informed decision making by patients,” the researchers involved in the TAVR study wrote, noting that approximately 78% of adults in the United States research health information online. “Our analysis determined that while hospital websites universally mention the potential benefits of TAVR, they rarely present any information on the procedure’s known risks.” If you experienced serious complications during TAVR surgery or another medical procedure, and don’t feel that you were adequately warned about the potential risks of the surgery beforehand, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with a knowledgeable lawyer who has experience handling medical malpractice claims.

Posted Under: Hospital Mistakes, Medical Malpractice, News, United States
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