Posts Tagged ‘Aortic valve stenosis’

Elastin Arteriopathy: The Genetics of Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis Elastin Arteriopathy

Giuseppe Merla, PhD, Nicola Brunetti-Pierri, MD, Pasquale Piccolo, PhD, Lucia Micale, PhD and Maria Nicla Loviglio, PhD, MSc

Author Affiliations

From the Medical Genetics Unit, IRCCS Casa Sollievo Della Sofferenza Hospital, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy (G.M., L.M., M.N.L.); Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine, Napoli, Italy (N.B-P., P.P.); Department of Pediatrics, Federico II University of Naples, Naples, Italy (N.B-P.); and CIG Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland (M.N.L.).

Correspondence to Giuseppe Merla, PhD, Medical Genetics Unit, IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, viale Cappuccini, 71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. E-mailg.merla@operapadrepio.it


Supravalvular aortic stenosis is a systemic elastin (ELN) arteriopathy that disproportionately affects the supravalvular aorta. ELN arteriopathy may be present in a nonsyndromic condition or in syndromic conditions such as Williams–Beuren syndrome. The anatomic findings include congenital narrowing of the lumen of the aorta and other arteries, such as branches of pulmonary or coronary arteries. Given the systemic nature of the disease, accurate evaluation is recommended to establish the degree and extent of vascular involvement and to plan appropriate interventions, which are indicated whenever hemodynamically significant stenoses occur. ELN arteriopathy is genetically heterogeneous and occurs as a consequence of haploinsufficiency of the ELN gene on chromosome 7q11.23, owing to either microdeletion of the entire chromosomal region or ELN point mutations. Interestingly, there is a prevalence of premature termination mutations resulting in null alleles among ELN point mutations. The identification of the genetic defect in patients with supravalvular aortic stenosis is essential for a definitive diagnosis, prognosis, and genetic counseling.


Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.2012; 5: 692-696

doi: 10.1161/ CIRCGENETICS.112.962860


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Lp(a) Gene Variant Association

Reporter: Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP


UPDATED on 2/20/2023

Universal Testing for Lp(a): What Are We Waiting For?

Dennis R. Leahy, MD

February 01, 2023

Lp(a) was associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), but whether an elevated blood level was a biomarker or a causal factor proved difficult to determine.

resurgent interest in molecular pathophysiology this past decade has clarified Lp(a)’s unique contribution to atherothrombotic disease and calcific aortic stenosis.

Lp(a) comprises an apoB particle bonded to an apo(a) particle. Apo(a) is complex and has a number of isoforms that can result in large heterogenicity in apo(a) size between, as well as within, individuals. This contributes to controversy about the ideal assay and whether Lp(a) levels should be expressed as mass (mg/dL) or number of particles (nmols/L). This should not, however, deter universal testing.

Universal Lp(a) testing would spotlight this pervasive and important risk factor that was referred to as the “horrible” cholesterol in a recent review.

To date, trials of an antisense oligonucleotide and a small interfering RNA molecule targeting hepatic LPA messenger RNA have confirmed that plasma Lp(a) levels can be significantly and safely lowered. If the ongoing Lp(a) HORIZON and OCEAN(a) phase 3 trials have positive outcomes in patients with known ASCVD, this would spawn a host of clinical trials to explore the possibilities of these therapies in primary prevention as well. These will require tens of thousands of enrollees, and universal testing would expand the pool of potential participants.

Recent data from the United Kingdom suggest that attainment of specific LDL-C levels may offset the risk for vascular events in those with high Lp(a) levels.



LDL-Lowering to Specific Targets May Offset Risk From High Lp(a)


Lp(a) Gene Variant Associated With Aortic Stenosis

Reported by Lisa Nainggolan Feb 06, 2013; GThanassoulis et al. NEJM http://www.theheart.org/article/1503525.do

People carrying this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) had a doubling of the risk of valve calcification on computer tomography (CT) compared with those without the variation. The same SNP has previously been identified as a risk factor for increased Lp(a) levels and coronary artery disease (CAD). Findings Could Reawaken Interest in Therapies Targeting Lp(a)

A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism is a change o...

A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism is a change of a nucleotide at a single base-pair location on DNA. Created using Inkscape v0.45.1. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Artherogenesis: Predictor of CVD – the Smaller and Denser LDL Particles

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Updated 3/5/2013

Genetic Associations with Valvular Calcification and Aortic Stenosis

N Engl J Med 2013; 368:503-512

February 7, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1109034


We determined genomewide associations with the presence of aortic-valve calcification (among 6942 participants) and mitral annular calcification (among 3795 participants), as detected by computed tomographic (CT) scanning; the study population for this analysis included persons of white European ancestry from three cohorts participating in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium (discovery population). Findings were replicated in independent cohorts of persons with either CT-detected valvular calcification or clinical aortic stenosis.


Genetic variation in the LPA locus, mediated by Lp(a) levels, is associated with aortic-valve calcification across multiple ethnic groups and with incident clinical aortic stenosis. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others.)


N Engl J Med 2013; 368:503-512

HDL is more than an eNOS Agonist

 In addition to the modulation of NO production by signaling events that rapidly dictate the level of enzymatic activity, important control of eNOS involves changes in the abundance of the enzyme. In a clinical trial by the Karas laboratory of niacin therapy in patients with low HDL levels (nine males and two females), flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery was improved in association with a rise in HDL of 33% over 3 months (Kuvin et al., 2002).

Am. Heart J., 144:165–172.

They also demonstrated that eNOS expression in cultured human endothelial cells is increased by HDL exposure for 24 hours. They further showed that the increase in eNOS is related to an increase in the half-life of the protein, and that this is mediated by PI3K–Akt kinase and MAPK (Ramet et al., 2003).

J. Am. Coll. Cardiol., 41:2288–2297.

Thus, the same mechanisms that underlie the acute activation of eNOS by HDL appear to be operative in upregulating the expression of the enzyme.

The current understanding of the mechanism by which HDL enhances endothelial NO production is summarized in Shaul & Mineo (2004), Figure 1.

J Clin Invest., 15; 113(4): 509–513.

It describes the mechanism of action for HDL enhancement of NO production by eNOS in vascular endothelium.

(a)   HDL causes membrane-initiated signaling, which stimulates eNOS activity. The eNOS protein is localized in cholesterol-enriched (orange circles) plasma membrane caveolae as a result of the myristoylation and palmitoylation of the protein. Binding of HDL to SR-BI via apoAI causes rapid activation of the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase src, leading to PI3K activation and downstream activation of Akt kinase and MAPK. Akt enhances eNOS activity by phosphorylation, and independent MAPK-mediated processes are additionally required (Duarte, et al., 1997). Eur J Pharmacol, 338:25–33.

HDL also causes an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration (intracellular Ca2+ store shown in blue; Ca2+ channel shown in pink), which enhances binding of calmodulin (CM) to eNOS. HDL-induced signaling is mediated at least partially by the HDL-associated lysophospholipids SPC, S1P, and LSF acting through the G protein–coupled lysophospholipid receptor S1P3. HDL-associated estradiol (E2) may also activate signaling by binding to plasma membrane–associated estrogen receptors (ERs), which are also G protein coupled. It remains to be determined if signaling events are also directly mediated by SR-BI (Yuhanna et al., 2001), (Nofer et al., 2004), (Gong et al., 2003), (Mineo et al., 2003).

Nat. Med., 7:853–857.

J. Clin. Invest.,113:569–581.

J. Clin. Invest., 111:1579–1587.

J. Biol. Chem., 278:9142–9149.

(b)   HDL regulates eNOS abundance and subcellular distribution. In addition to modulating the acute response, the activation of the PI3K–Akt kinase pathway and MAPK by HDL upregulates eNOS expression (open arrows). HDL also regulates the lipid environment in caveolae (dashed arrows). Oxidized LDL (OxLDL) can serve as a cholesterol acceptor (orange circles), thereby disrupting caveolae and eNOS function. However, in the presence of OxLDL, HDL maintains the total cholesterol content of caveolae by the provision of cholesterol ester (blue circles), resulting in preservation of the eNOS signaling module (Ramet et al., 2003), (Blair et al., 1999), (Uittenbogaard et al., 2000).

J. Am. Coll. Cardiol., 41:2288–2297.

J. Biol. Chem., 274:32512–32519.

J. Biol. Chem., 275:11278–11283.


Shaul, PW and Mineo, C, (2004). HDL action on the vascular wall: is the answer NO? J Clin Invest., 15; 113(4): 509–513.

Are Additional Lipid Measures Useful?

Ryan D. Bradley, ND; and Erica B. Oberg, ND, MPH


Total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) are the well-established standards by which clinicians identify individuals at risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), yet nearly 50% of people who have a myocardial infarction have normal cholesterol levels. Measurement of additional biomarkers may be useful to more fully stratify patients according to disease risk. The typical lipid panel includes TC, LDL-C, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol  (HDL-C), and triglycerides (TGs). Emerging biomarkers for cardiovascular risk include measures of LDL-C pattern, size,  and density; LDL particle number; lipoprotein(a); apolipoproteins  (apoA1 and apoB100 being the most useful);  C-reactive protein; and lipoprotein-associated phospholipase

Some of these emerging biomarkers have been proven to add to, or be more accurate than, traditional risk factors in predicting coronary artery disease and, thus, may be useful for clinical decision-making in high-risk patients and in patients with borderline traditional risk factors.  However, we still believe that until treatment strategies can uniquely address these added risk factors—ie, until protocols to rectify unhealthy findings are shown to improve cardiovascular outcomes—healthcare providers should continue to focus primarily on helping patients reach optimal LDL-C, HDL-C, and TG levels

Table 1. Traditional Lipid Panel and Recommended Treatment

Goals for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention34

  • Total Cholesterol Desirable (low) < 200 mg/dL
  • Borderline high 200-239 mg/dL
  • High 240 mg/dL or greater
  • HDL Cholesterol Desirable (high) > 60 mg/dL
  • Acceptable 40-60 mg/dL
  • Low < 40 mg/dL
  • LDL Cholesterol Desirable (low) < 100 mg/dL
  • Acceptable 100-129 mg/dL
  • Borderline high 130-159 mg/dL
  • High 160-189 mg/dL
  • Very high 190 mg/dL or greater
  • Triglycerides Desirable (low) < 150 mg/dL
  • Borderline high 150-199 mg/dL
  • High 200-499 mg/dL
  • Very high 500 mg/dL or greater

LDL-C and HDL-C: Pattern, Size, and Density

Two patterns predominate and are used to describe the average size of LDL particles. Pattern A refers to a preponderance of large LDL particles, while Pattern B refers to a preponderance of small LDL particles; a minority of individuals displays an intermediate or mixed pattern. Some commercially available assays further subdivide LDL-C into 7 distinct designations based on particle size.9,10

LDL Lipoprotein Particle Number

LDL particle number (LDL-P) is a measure of the number of lipoprotein particles independent of the quantity of lipid within the cholesterol particle; ie, LDL-P measures the number of individual particles, not a concentration like LDL-C. It is measured using nuclear magnetic resonance technology and is unaffected by fasting status.21 Higher LDL-P measures have been associated with a higher risk of CAD. This might simply be because there are more particles susceptible to oxidation in circulation.

There are suggestions, but not definitive proof, that reducing LDL-P increases intra-LDL antioxidant capacity.  The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort, a study that has followed 25 663 participants  (men and women aged 45-79 years) over 6 years, evaluated associations between LDL-P and risk of CAD. Compared to controls,  cases of CAD had a higher number of LDL particles (LDL-P P<.0001), smaller average LDL-particle size (P=.002), and higher concentrations of small LDL particles (P<.0001).22

Once again,  small, dense LDL-C were positively associated with TG and negatively associated with HDL.  In another study investigating incident angina and MI with LDL-P, females, but not males, had a significantly increased odds ratio for incident MI and angina for higher LDL-P—but not for LDL size—after adjustment for LDL, age, and race.  Males had increased (but not significant) point estimates showing the same relationship.23 Of note, LDL-P and non-HDL-C (ie,  TC minus HDL-C, or, specifically, LDL-C plus VLDLs), added equivalently to Framingham-predicted CAD risk stratification, thus reducing our enthusiasm for this additional measurement when TC and HDL-C are routinely available.22 Based on these results, LDL-P is becoming recognized as a more-precise measure of LDL-related risk and, as it becomes more available, is likely to replace LDL-C in risk-stratification tools. Clinical availability is currently limited; however, Medicare recently began reimbursing for regular testing of LDL-P in highrisk patients, so we should see availability increase soon. There are no novel treatments based on LDL-P at this time, and data shows therapies that lower LDL-C lower LDL-P as well.


Apolipoproteins are the protein components of plasma lipoproteins. Several different apolipoproteins have been identified and numbered; however, apoB48, apoB100, and apoA are the most commonly referenced.  ApoB48 is associated with LDL particles that transport dietary cholesterol to the liver for processing. ApoB100 is found in lipoproteins originating from the liver (eg, LDL and VLDL); it transports these lipoproteins and, also, TGs to the periphery. In addition, ApoB100 is involved with the binding of LDL particles to the vascular wall, implicating itself as a key player in the development of atherogenic plaques. Importantly, there is one apoB100 molecule per hepatic-derived lipoprotein. Hence, it is possible to quantify the number of LDL/VLDL particles by noting the total apoB100 concentration.

Measurement of apoB100 has been shown in nearly all studies to outperform LDL-C and non-HDL-C as a predictor of CAD events and as an index of residual CAD risk, perhaps due to differences in measurement sensitivity between measurement methodologies. Direct measurement of apolipoproteins is superior to calculated lipid measurements. Yet, currently, apoB100 measurement is more costly than routine measurements and,  because apoB100 is so closely associated with non-HDL-C (which,  as mentioned previously, can be estimated by TC minus HDL-C),  our enthusiasm for the clinical use of this test is limited.24 For its part, apoA is associated with HDL particles; the 2 major proteins in HDL are apoAI and apoAII. Of these, apoAI has more frequently been used to estimate HDL-C, but, in contrast to apoB100, apoAI is not unique to HDL and so the ratio of apoAI to HDL is not 1 to 1.24


Lipoprotein(a)—Lp(a)—is attached to apoB. The association of Lp(a) with CAD and its ability to act as a biomarker of risk appears to be strongest in patients with hypercholesterolemia and, in particular, in young patients with premature atherosclerosis (males younger than 55 and females younger than 65). Part of the reason for this is the observation that there seem to be important threshold effects such that only very high Lp(a) levels (> 30 mg/dL) are associated with elevated vascular risk; in this regard, these increased plasma levels of Lp(a) independently predict the presence of CAD, particularly in patients with elevated LDL-C levels.28

In the Cardiovascular Health Study, a relative risk of approximately 3-fold for death from vascular events and stroke was seen in the highest quintile compared to the lowest quintile of Lp(a) but for males only, whereas no such relation existed for women.29 Lp(a) is commonly considered a marker for familial hypercholesterolemia. Lp(a) may best be used in assessing the risk of younger males with strong family histories of CVD but  should not be used more generally.

Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

(Exclusive of LDL Cholesterol)34

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Hypertension (BP > 140/90 mmHg or on antihypertensive medication)
  • Low HDL cholesterol (< 40 mg/dL)
  • Family history of premature CHD (CHD in first-degree male relative <
  • 55 years; CHD in first-degree female relative < 65 years)
  • Age (men > 44 years; women > 54 years

In addition,

  • Clinical coronary heart disease,
  • symptomatic carotid artery disease,
  • peripheral arterial disease, or
  • abdominal aortic aneurysm


In the United States, treatment guidelines for high CVD risk factors are set by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel, which developed the third report of the Adult Treatment Panel (ATPIII).34 Treatment goals are determined according to risk stratification by LDL-C and by known additional risk factors such as smoking, low HDL, hypertension,  family history, and age. Yet, clinically, decision-making is always more complex than this. Additional risk stratification can be accomplished by measuring the biomarkers discussed above, and this may potentially provide additive benefit beyond NCEP guidelines. However, we always encourage clinicians to treat known risks to goal levels before adding additional goals for treatment. In a future article we will provide further detail on treatment options for novel biomarkers.


1. No authors listed. Cardiovascular disease statistics. American Heart Association.

Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4478.

Accessed October 28, 2008.

2. Tsimikas S, Willerson JT, Ridker PM. C-reactive protein and other emerging blood

biomarkers to optimize risk stratification of vulnerable patients. J Am Coll Cardiol.

2006;47(8 Suppl):C19-C31.

3. Nicholls SJ, Tuzcu EM, Sipahi I, et al. Statins, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol,

and regression of coronary atherosclerosis. JAMA. 2007;297(5):499-508.

4. Hausenloy DJ, Yellon DM. Targeting residual cardiovascular risk: raising high-density

lipoprotein cholesterol levels. JAMA. 2007;297(5):499-508.

5. Bansal S, Buring JE, Rifai N, Mora S, Sacks FM, Ridker PM. Fasting compared with

nonfasting triglycerides and risk of cardiovascular events in women. JAMA.


6. Nordestgaard BG, Benn M, Schnohr P, Tybjaerg-Hansen A. Nonfasting triglycerides

and risk of myocardial infarction, ischemic heart disease, and death in men and

women. JAMA. 2007;298(3):299-308.

7. Stampfer MJ, Krauss RM, Ma J, et al. A prospective study of triglyceride level, lowdensity

lipoprotein particle diameter, and risk of myocardial infarction. JAMA.


8. Ceriello A. The post-prandial state and cardiovascular disease: relevance to diabetes

mellitus. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2000;16(2):125-132.

9. Carmena R, Duriez P, Fruchart JC. Atherogenic lipoprotein particles in artherosclerosis.

Circulation. 2004;109(23 Suppl 1):III2-III7.

10. Dormans TP, Swinkels DW, de Graaf J, Hendriks JC, Stalenhoef AF, Demacker PN.

Single-spin density-gradient ultracentrifugation vs gradient gel electrophoresis: two

methods for detecting low-density-lipoprotein heterogeneity compared. Clin Chem.


11. Roheim PS, Asztalos BF. Clinical significance of lipoprotein size and risk for coronary

atherosclerosis. Clin Chem. 1995;41(1):147-152.

12. Swinkels DW, Demacker PN, Hendriks JC, van ‘t Laar A. Low density lipoprotein

subfractions and relationship to other risk factors for coronary artery disease in

healthy individuals. Arteriosclerosis. 1989;9(5):604-613.

13. Tan CE, Chew LS, Chio LF, et al. Cardiovascular risk factors and LDL subfraction

profile in Type 2 diabetes mellitus subjects with good glycaemic control. Diabetes Res

Clin Pract. 2001;51(2):107-114.

14. Lamarche B, Tchernof A, Mauriège P, et al. Fasting insulin and apolipoprotein B levels

and low-density lipoprotein particle size as risk factors for ischemic heart disease.

JAMA. 1998;279(24):1955-1961.

15. St-Pierre AC, Ruel IL, Cantin B, et al. Comparison of various electrophoretic characteristics

of LDL particles and their relationship to the risk of ischemic heart disease.

Circulation. 2001;104(19):2295-2299.

16. Mora S, Szklo M, Otvos JD, et al. LDL particle subclasses, LDL particle size, and

carotid atherosclerosis in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

Atherosclerosis. 2007;192(1):211-217.

17. Singh IM, Shishehbor MH, Ansell BJ. High-density lipoprotein as a therapeutic target:

a systematic review. JAMA. 2007;298(7):786-798.

18. Lewis GF. Determinants of plasma HDL concentrations and reverse cholesterol

transport. Curr Opin Cardiol. 2006;21(4):345-352.

19. Kontush A, de Faria EC, Chantepie S, Chapman MJ. A normotriglyceridemic, low

HDL-cholesterol phenotype is characterised by elevated oxidative stress and HDL

particles with attenuated antioxidative activity. Atherosclerosis. 2005;182(2):277-285.

20. Nobécourt E, Jacqueminet S, Hansel B, et al. Defective antioxidative activity of small

dense HDL3 particles in type 2 diabetes: relationship to elevated oxidative stress and

hyperglycaemia. Diabetologia. 2005;48(3):529-538.

21. Dungan KM, Guster T, DeWalt DA, Buse JB. A comparison of lipid and lipoprotein

measurements in the fasting and nonfasting states in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Curr Med Res Opin. 2007;23(11):2689-2695.

22. El Harchaoui K, van der Steeg WA, Stroes ES, et al. Value of low-density lipoprotein

particle number and size as predictors of coronary artery disease in apparently

healthy men and women: the EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study. J Am Coll

Cardiol. 2007;49(5):547-553.

23. Kuller L, Arnold A, Tracy R, et al. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of lipoproteins

and risk of coronary heart disease in the cardiovascular health study.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2002;22(7):1175-1180.

24. Olofsson SO, Wiklund O, Borén J. Apolipoproteins A-I and B: biosynthesis, role in

the development of atherosclerosis and targets for intervention against cardiovascular

disease. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2007;3(4):491-502.

25. Walldius G, Jungner I. Is there a better marker of cardiovascular risk than LDL cholesterol?

Apolipoproteins B and A-I—new risk factors and targets for therapy. Nutr

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26. Anand SS, Islam S, Rosengren A, et al. Risk factors for myocardial infarction in

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risk markers of myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study): a

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of prospective studies. Circulation. 2000;102(10):1082-1085.

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Other related articles on this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

Fight against Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: A Biologics not a Small Molecule – Recombinant Human lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (rhLCAT) attracted AstraZeneca to acquire AlphaCore

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) Inhibitor: Potential of Anacetrapib to treat Atherosclerosis and CAD

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Hypertriglyceridemia concurrent Hyperlipidemia: Vertical Density Gradient Ultracentrifugation a Better Test to Prevent Undertreatment of High-Risk Cardiac Patients

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL): An Independent Predictor of Endothelial Function & Atherosclerosis, A Modulator, An Agonist, A Biomarker for Cardiovascular Risk

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN



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Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, Irvine, California delivers acute hemodynamic monitoring & heart valves. Their new perimount magna heart valve (bioprosthesis), with its supra-annular design, offers optimal hemodynamics and flow characteristics for treatment of aortic heart valve diseases. Their embolectomy catheters are indicated for the removal of fresh, soft emboli and thrombi from vessels in the arterial system.

Edwards Lifesciences Reports Strong 2012 Fourth Quarter Results

February 5, 2013

IRVINE, CA, February 04, 2013 — Edwards Lifesciences Corporation (NYSE: EW), the global leader in the science of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring, today reported net income for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, of $91.1 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, compared to net income of $63.1 million, or $0.53 per diluted share, for the same period in 2011.

During the quarter, the company recorded a global realignment pretax charge of $9.0 million, primarily related to severance costs. Additionally, in its non-GAAP results for the quarter, the company included an $8.4 million tax benefit, which represents the portion of the recently renewed Federal research and development (R&D) tax credit that is retroactive to the beginning of 2012. In the quarter ending March 31, 2013, the company will record the 2012 tax credit as required, but will exclude it from non-GAAP results. The impact of these special items was $0.13 per diluted share.

Adjusting for special items from both periods detailed in the reconciliation table below, fourth quarter diluted earnings per share were $0.90, compared to $0.62 in the prior year quarter, an increase of 45.2 percent.

Fourth quarter net sales increased 18.7 percent to $510.5 million compared to the same period last year. Sales growth excluding the impact of foreign exchange was 21.2 percent.

“Our fourth quarter capped a year of significant progress as we introduced our innovative SAPIEN technology to the U.S.,” said Michael A. Mussallem, chairman and CEO. “We are very proud that more than 5,000 patients in the U.S. have been treated with our transcatheter valves since launch, and we are aggressively investing to expand the availability of this important therapy. In spite of a difficult economic environment, underlying(1) sales were up 16 percent in 2012 driven by a strong finish in each of our product lines.”

Sales Results
For the fourth quarter, the company reported Surgical Heart Valve Therapy product group sales of $197.7 million, which included $29.1 million of cardiac surgery systems sales. Sales grew 3.8 percent over the fourth quarter last year, or 5.5 percent excluding the impact of foreign exchange. Growth outside the U.S. was 4.0 percent, or 7.2 percent excluding the impact of foreign exchange, while sales in the U.S. grew 3.5 percent.

Sales of transcatheter heart valves (THV) were $161.0 million for the quarter, a 72.8 percent growth over the fourth quarter last year, or 77.2 percent excluding the impact of foreign exchange. These results were driven by the ongoing U.S. launch of the SAPIEN valve, with total U.S. THV sales of $80.7 million. Outside the U.S., sales grew by 5.5 percent, or 10.0 percent excluding the impact of foreign exchange.

“We continue to expect underlying transcatheter heart valve sales to grow 30 to 45 percent in 2013. This would result in global sales of $710 million to $790 million, which includes $390 million to $440 million of sales in the U.S.,” Mussallem said.

Critical Care product group sales were $151.8 million for the quarter, including vascular sales of $13.8 million. Critical care sales were $138.0 million, representing growth of 3.5 percent, or 6.0 percent excluding the impact of foreign exchange. Growth was driven primarily by advanced monitoring products in Japan and the U.S.

Domestic and international sales for the fourth quarter were $224.9 million and $285.6 million, respectively.

Additional Operating Results
For the quarter, Edwards’ gross profit margin was 75.4 percent, compared to 72.2 percent in the same period last year. This improvement was driven primarily by a more profitable product mix and the impact from foreign exchange.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $177.9 million for the quarter, or 34.8 percent of sales, compared to $163.4 million, or 38.0 percent of sales, in the same period last year. The increase in expenses was driven primarily by U.S. transcatheter launch-related investments.

Research and development for the quarter grew 23.4 percent to $74.9 million, or 14.7 percent of sales. This increase was the result of additional investments in clinical studies and new product development efforts in all of the company’s product lines.

Free cash flow for the quarter was $70.6 million, defined as cash flow from operating activities of $126.4 million, less capital spending of $55.8 million.

Cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments were $521.4 million at the end of the quarter. Total debt at December 31, 2012, was $189.3 million.

During the quarter, the company repurchased approximately 2.1 million shares of common stock for $186.9 million. At December 31, 2012, approximately $248 million was available for share repurchase under the company’s existing share repurchase authorization.

Twelve-Month Results
For the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, the company recorded net income of $293.2 million, or $2.48 per diluted share, compared to $236.7 million, or $1.98 per diluted share, for the same period in 2011. On a non-GAAP basis, earnings per diluted share were $2.69, compared to $2.02, a 33.2 percent increase.

Net sales for the twelve months of 2012 increased 13.2 percent to $1.90 billion. Underlying sales growth was 16.2 percent.

Domestic and international sales for the twelve months were $812.1million and $1,087.5 million, respectively.

Free cash flow for the year was $253.1 million, defined as cash flow from operating activities of $373.8 million, less capital spending of $120.7 million.

During 2012, the company repurchased approximately 4.0 million shares of common stock for $353.2 million.

“We expect another exciting year for Edwards Lifesciences with continued strong sales growth, greater operating leverage, and progress on a number of important clinical milestones,” Mussallem said. “To strengthen our leadership position we plan to continue investing substantially in the development of transcatheter valves and other structural heart disease therapies, as well as in critical care technologies. We believe our focused innovation strategy, together with our global presence and strong financial footing, uniquely position us to drive strong, sustainable growth, while we help treat additional patients.

“We continue to expect full year sales of $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion and earnings per diluted share, excluding special items, of $3.21 to $3.31,” said Mussallem. “For the first quarter 2013, we project total sales of $505 million to $530 million and diluted earnings per share, excluding the $0.07 benefit from the 2012 R&D tax credit and any other special items, between $0.74 and $0.78.”




Read more: Edwards Lifesciences Reports Strong Fourth Quarter Results – FierceMedicalDevices http://www.fiercemedicaldevices.com/press-releases/edwards-lifesciences-reports-strong-fourth-quarter-results#ixzz2K3FNImH7

History of Edwards Lifesciences

 Edwards Lifesciences’ roots date to 1958, when Miles “Lowell” Edwards set out to build the first artificial heart.

Edwards was a 60-year-old, recently retired engineer holding 63 patents in an array of industries, with an entrepreneurial spirit and dreams of helping patients with heart disease.  His fascination with healing the heart was sparked in his teens, when he suffered through two bouts of rheumatic fever, which can scar heart valves and eventually cause the organ to fail.

With a background in hydraulics and fuel pump operations, Edwards believed the human heart could be mechanized.  However, when he presented the concept to Dr. Albert Starr, a young surgeon at the University of Oregon Medical School, the idea was met with hesitation.  Instead, Starr encouraged Edwards to focus first on developing an artificial heart valve, for which there was an immediate need.  

After only two years, the first Starr-Edwards mitral valve- which is not longer available for sale – was designed, developed, tested, and successfully placed in a patient.  Newspapers around the world reported on what they termed a “miraculous” heart surgery.  

This innovation spawned a company, Edwards Laboratories, which set up shop in Santa Ana, Calif. — not far from where Edwards Lifesciences’ global headquarters is located today.

Edwards Lifesciences’ heart valve expertise has led to the development of one of the most exciting opportunities in the cardiovascular field – transcatheter heart valve replacement.  The specially-designed valve and delivery system*  is being evaluated in clinical studies in which high-risk patients receive a valve replacement without traditional open-heart surgery and while their heart continues to beat.  Clinicians replace a patient’s aortic valve via a catheter inserted into a small incision in either the leg or between the ribs.  Edwards Lifesciences’ leadership in transcatheter heart valve replacement includes a commitment to rigorous scientific study of the procedure and to extensive clinician training and education.

Consistent with this effort to explore less invasive surgery, the company is committed to providing tools for minimally invasive cardiac surgery that allow cardiac surgeons to perform heart valve operations through small openings, or “ports,” in the spaces between the ribs.


In patients with severe aortic stenosis who were not suitable candidates for surgery, TAVI, as compared with standard therapy, significantly reduced the rates of death from any cause, the composite end point of death from any cause or repeat hospitalization, and cardiac symptoms, despite the higher incidence of major strokes and major vascular events. (Funded by Edwards Lifesciences; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00530894.)

The PARTNER II Trial: Placement of AoRTic TraNscathetER Valves

This study is currently recruiting participants.

Verified May 2012 by Edwards Lifesciences

 First Received on March 7, 2011.   Last Updated on May 23, 2012   History of Changes


Edwards Lifesciences

Information provided by (Responsible Party):

Edwards Lifesciences

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:



The purpose of this trial is to determine the safety and effectiveness of the Edwards SAPIEN XT transcatheter heart valve and delivery systems: NovaFlex (transfemoral access) and Ascendra2 (transapical access) in patients with symptomatic, calcific, severe aortic stenosis.

Condition Intervention Phase
Symptomatic Severe Aortic Stenosis Device: TAVR Implantation of the Transcatheter Aortic Valve ProsthesisDevice: AVR with a surgical heart valveDevice: TAVR Implantation of the Transcatheter Aortic Valve ProsthesisDevice: TAVR Implantation of the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Prosthesis Phase 3
Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: RandomizedEndpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy StudyIntervention Model: Parallel AssignmentMasking: Open LabelPrimary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: The PARTNER II Trial “Placement of AoRTic TraNscathetER” Valves Trial” (US) [Edwards Study 2010-12]


Unparalleled Commitment to Research

The research vision for The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology is a dynamic process and will be developed and implemented by the Center and faculty.

The broad vision will encompass basic research and development of new technologies focused on the treatment of cardiovascular disease. 

The breadth of this vision will allow the flexibility to recruit the most outstanding faculty in the cardiovascular field, as well as allow the Center’s research activity to move quickly into new areas while remaining focused in the cardiovascular system.  Potential areas of expertise and focus will include, but are not limited to:

  •       Valve replacement technology
  •       Regenerative and degenerative cardiovascular medicine (including tissue engineering and stem cell biology)
  •       Non-invasive (wireless) cardiovascular monitoring, intervention, and imaging
  •       Novel stent or catheter-based therapies including new biological coatings

The engineering expertise that will be applied to these areas include Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), nanotechnology, biophotonics, biomaterials, systems biology, and computation/modeling.

Core Facilities

The Center has three fully functional core research facilities, and a fourth facility in the final planning stages.  The facilities will provide unique and/or synergistic instrumentation and expertise for the campus and community.  Access to the core facilities is limited to faculty members who are members of the Center and their trainees. The core facilities are briefly described below, and more information about the instrumentation, access, training, and reservations can be found on each facility’s page:

1.    Surgical and Imaging Facility (SIF).  The SIF is currently in a planning stage.  This facility could potentially provide a major resource to the campus, not only for cardiovascular research, but other organ systems that need small and large animal models, as well as training opportunities for UC Irvine and community-based cardiologists, scientists, or sales representatives from local companies.  The planned facility will include the following functionalities:

Complete catheterization including hemodynamic monitoring with bi-plane fluoroscopic imaging



MicroPET (positron emission tomography)

MicroSPECT (single positron emission computed tomography)

OCT (optical computed tomography)

In addition to the catheterization lab, a fully functional operating room for both acute and chronic procedures are planned.

2.    Cell and Tissue Facility (CTF) The Cell and Tissue Facility, located in  Engineering Hall rooms 2110 and 2128, is a complete cell-culturing facility.  The center offers six biosafety cabinets, two water baths, six CO2 incubators – including one for oxygen tension control – two benchtop incubators – including one for oxygen tension control – centrifuges with refrigeration capabilities, three cell culture microscopes, refrigeration, -80C and -20C freezers, liquid nitrogen storage, and a purified water source.

3.    Mechanical Testing Facility (MTF).  This core facility provides two basic instruments for investigating mechanical properties.  The Synergie 100 system performs tension or compression testing, while the rheometer provides the capability to study dynamic and shear properties. The instruments are housed in Engineering Hall room 2115.

4.    Microscopy Core Facility (MCF).  Microscopy Core Facility has multiple imaging capabilities, including confocal, fluorescence, differential interference contrast, phase contrast, darkfield, and brightfield microscopy. This core facility is equipped with a Nikon Eclipse TE300 Inverted Scope with Nikon PCM2000 Confocal Attachment, an Inverted Eclipse TE300, and an Upright Eclipse E800 w/ VFM epi-fluorescence attachment.  Each microscopy is equipped with a 12-bit CCD camera; specifications can be found on the facility’s website.


Executive Compensation in the Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery Medical Devices Market: Comparison of Edwards Lifesciences Corporation with other Suppliers – Analysis of the SAPIEN Contribution

Edwards Lifesciences Corporation


To be held on Thursday, May 10, 2012


Definition of a Comparator Group for Determination of Executive Compensation. Edwards Lifesciences 2011 Comparator Group include:

Allergan, Inc.

Masimo Corp.

Becton Dickinson & Co.

Medtronic, Inc.

Boston Scientific Corp.

PerkinElmer, Inc.

C. R. Bard, Inc.

ResMed, Inc.

CareFusion, Inc.

St. Jude Medical, Inc.

Covidien plc

Stryker Corp.

Gen-Probe, Inc.

Thoratec Corp.

Hospira, Inc.

Varian Medical Systems, Inc.

Illumina, Inc.

Zimmer Holdings, Inc.

Integra Lifesciences Holding Corp.



In the Chairman of the board address:  2011 Performance was Strong. The year 2011 was one of significant investment and major milestones. Successful PARTNER trial results culminated in U.S. regulatory approval to begin commercially offering the SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve to many inoperable patients. We developed a rigorous training program to promote the teamwork of cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists, and to emphasize excellent clinicalresults. To support expected growth, we expanded our heart valve manufacturing capacity, and made additional enhancements to our infrastructure, including our information and quality systems.As a result of the combined efforts of our management team and their employees, in 2011, theCompany delivered another year of strong financial performance. The company-wide financial measures usedto determine 2011 incentive compensation consisted of goals for revenue growth, net income, and free cashflow.

The following table shows the 2011 results for these three metrics compared against the 2011 targets and the comparable performance measures for 2010 and 2009:

                                                                        2011     2011     2010    2009

                                                                        Actual Target Actual Actual

Revenue Growth* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.0%** 11.4%** 12.7% 11.4%

Net Income* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $259.6** $244.0** $218.9 $181.5

Free Cash Flow* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $215.0** $215.0** $196.2 $178.1



Comparison of Cumulative Five Year Total Stock Return






Edwards Life Sciences












Morgan Stanley  Health Care Products






http://ht.edwards.com/sci/edwards/sitecollectionimages/edwards/investorrelations/2012edwardsproxy.pdf p.26

Pay for Performance Philosophy.The Compensation Committee strongly believes that executive compensation should be tied to performance and strives to create a pay for performance culture. Our compensation objectives are to offer programs that emphasize performance-based compensation and align the financial interests of our executives with those of the Company’s stockholders. Accordingly, approximately 80% of the total direct compensation of our Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (the ‘‘Chairman and CEO’’) and our Named Executive Officers is at risk based upon the performance of the Company. p.26


CEO TDC (Average) (in thousands)

Most Recent FY

Last 3 FYs

Last 5 FYs

2011 Comparatoe Group

90th Percentile




75th Percentile








25th Percentile




Edwadrs Lifesciences








http://ht.edwards.com/sci/edwards/sitecollectionimages/edwards/investorrelations/2012edwardsproxy.pdf p.29

When compared to the competitive data based on the 2011 Comparator Group, the average base salary compensation paid to the Named Executive Officers for the 2011 fiscal year was approximately 2.5% below the median, the total cash compensation was at the median, and total direct compensation was approximately at the median. The following chart illustrates the total direct compensation of our Chairman and CEO.

The total stockholder return (TSR) for the Company’s common stock for the previous one, three, and five years, compared to the data of our 2011 Comparator Group:

2011 Edwards Most Recent Return: -11.8%, 42 percentile

Last 3 FYs 55.6%, maximum percentile

Last 5 FYs 37.3%, maximum percentile

2011 Comparator Group: 90th percentile subgroup, Most Recent TSR 7.6%

Last 3 FYs 18.9%

Last 5 FYs 8.5%

Executive compensation at Edwards in 2012 will increase significantly as a direct results from the Edwards’ stock soars after FDA panel nod on expanded Sapien valve use

On June 14, 2012:

Stock Price and Trading Volume 7/2011 to 6/14/2012


Stock Price and Trading Volume 5/21/2012 to 6/14/2012


Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (EW) won the backing of U.S. advisers for an expanded use of the company’s Sapien heart valve as an alternative to open-heart surgery. Edwards’ transcatheter aortic heart valve may soon have two indications: for aortic stenosis patients who are both inoperable and at high risk for surgery.

Smith, PARTNER trial’s principal investigator of Cohort A during the sponsor presentation, urged that the higher frequency of neurological events that occurred within the TAVR group should not be “trivialized” in either treatment group. Smith called aortic stenosis “one of the conditions we understand best in cardiovascular disease.” He called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) a “miracle therapy,” and said that outcomes for the procedure will only continue to improve. And while most of the day’s conversation gave kudos to the PARTNER trial and its findings, concerns did focus on gender differences and neurological events.

Mark Hollmer explains that Edwards Lifesciences ($EW) scored a major win on Wednesday, successfully making its case before an FDA panel of experts that its Sapien transcatheter heart valve should be used in a broader class of patients. The agency’s Circulatory Systems Advisory Committee voted 11-0 (one panelist abstained) that the benefits outweighed any risks in using the valve for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are high-risk but could otherwise undergo surgery.

Investors reacted favorably, driving Edwards’ stock up more than 8% to $98.55 by midday on June 14. Bloomberg, MedPage Today, The Associated Press, CardiovascularBusiness and many others covered the day-long panel meeting and final vote. While the FDA doesn’t have to follow the panel’s recommendation, it usually does. Panel members also voted 12-0 that Sapien is effective and 10-2 that the valve is safe.

When the FDA comes out with its final decision is anyone’s guess, but Bloomberg predicts final action could come in October, based on the timeline for Sapien’s initial approval in 2011 (panel meeting in July; regulatory approval in November). Sapien initially gained FDA approval for patients with limited classes of stenosis who can’t have surgery.

To make its case during the 8-hour-plus hearing, Edwards Life Sciences relied on the “Cohort B” part of its pivotal PARTNER trial, which compared transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) with surgery. (“Cohort A” was used for the initial approval in November.) PARTNER recruited 699 high-risk older patients with severe aortic stenosis and randomly assigned them to TAVI (n=348) or surgery. About two-thirds of the TAVI patients underwent transfemoral procedures, where the device was threaded through the femoral artery, while 103 had transapical access procedures, where the device was inserted directly into the tip of the left ventricle of the heart.

Death rates were essentially the same at 1 year for the Sapien group and the control group. When divided up by type of valve implantation compared with matched surgery controls, the death rate for Sapien implanted via a transfemoral approach was 24.2% versus 26.8% for surgery; and for the transapical approach the 1-year mortality rate was 22.2% for the Sapien group and 26.4% for the open-heart surgery group. Although the death rate was very similar, TAVI patients had double the rate of stoke during the 30-day period following the procedure. With the transapical approach, there appeared to be an even greater increased risk for early stroke, which the panel chalked up to the fact that patients who received TAVI via transapical approach were sicker patients, so their outcomes were poorer than those who were implanted via a transfemoral approach.

The trial involved 699 older patients of high risk with severe aortic stenosis who were randomly assigned to the TAVI procedure or surgery. Among the findings: the death rate was similar for both, but patients who had transcatheter aortic valve implantation faced double the rate of stroke over the initial 30-day period after the surgery. That finding concerned both FDA scientists and panel members, though Edwards countered that stroke rates evened out after another year, Bloomberg notes. Regulators in advance of the hearing were also bothered by how the company chose patients and categorized them for the trial, arguing that it constituted bias to some degree, and potentially skewed the results.

Edwards wants to do a post-approval study to follow patients from the trial and also create a registry to enroll new patients. FDA staff members agree, and urged at least 5 years of follow-up for subjects from the trial.



Transcatheter Heart Valve Replacement Market: A Market of $2.5 Billion in the US

The market for transcatheter valves may total $2.5 billion in the U.S., said Jason Mills, a San Francisco-based analyst with Canaccord Adams Inc. The initial FDA approval of Sapien in November boosted Edwards’s sales 67 percent in the first quarter to $122 million, Michael Mussallem, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in an April 24 earnings call.

The device is meant to treat aortic stenosis. The debilitating condition is caused by a narrowing valve that restricts the ability of blood to enter the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“A broader indication for high-risk patients would enable multidisciplinary heart teams to choose the approach best suited to their patients’ needs,” Mussallem said in a statement after the panel’s vote. “We look forward to working closely with the FDA during the review process, and thank the panel for their thoughtful analysis.”

The FDA may decide on approval in October if reviewers follow the same timeline they did when they cleared the valve for inoperable patients. Advisers met in July to consider the device for inoperable patients and approved it in November.


Another point of concern, as Bloomberg points out: FDA staff noted that patients treated with Sapien faced twice the stroke risk in the initial month after the implant procedure, compared to patients who had open-heart surgery instead.

The FDA wants the company to commit to a long-term follow up, post-approval study that tracks patients for at least 5 years to address its concerns. Edwards appears to be on the same page, having proposed a post-approval study that would follow patients from its pivotal trial, as well as a new patient registry, according to the story.


Edwards won a PMA for the Sapien device for inoperable patients with aortic stenosis, a hardening and narrowing of the aortic valve, in November 2011.* FDA reviewers said the arm of the study covering the high-risk patients may have been flawed by the inconsistencies.

“FDA notes that screening and subsequent enrollment practices were not homogenous. The large variation between the ratios of those screened to those enrolled may represent different selection criteria among sites,” according to documents released ahead of the meeting scheduled for Wednesday. “Enrollment practices related to identification of ‘inoperable’ and ‘high risk’ patients were not homogenous across sites.”


FDA Panel

There was “no significant difference” in mortality between patients treated with surgery vs. treatment with the Sapien valve, according to the documents. But some patients who were slated for traditional open heart surgery were treated with the TAVI device, and vice-versa, making it difficult to evaluate the study’s endpoints.

“[T]he issue of [surgery] patients not receiving [surgery], [Sapien] patients receiving [surgery], and [surgery] patients undergoing concomitant operations makes evaluation of these endpoint results difficult,” according to the FDA reviewers. “Although the primary endpoint was met, issues related to potential selection bias confound the interpretation of these results.”

“We believe the Partner trial was well-designed and executed. We are proud of the efforts of the leading heart teams that supported this ground-breaking trial and what it means for patients,” an Edwards spokeswoman told MassDevice.com via email. “We are reserving further comment on this or related matters until the Advisory Committee scheduled for June 13.”

The FDA also wants the circulatory devices panel to consider better ways to construct future trials of similar devices and to come up with appropriate endpoints for a post-market surveillance study. The panel is scheduled to vote on whether the device is as safe and effective as surgery and whether its benefits outweigh its risks for the high-risk cohort.


Medicare to Cover Edwards’ Sapien Heart Valve

On May 2, 2012 Mark Hollmer reported that for medical device companies, gaining Medicare reimbursement for surgical procedures involving their implants can be a sort of financial holy grail. After all, an implant won’t be used much if the cost can’t be covered. Edwards Lifesciences ($EW) has reached that point now that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has agreed to pay for surgery involving its Sapien transcatheter heart valve. Ssince Sapien’s U.S. debut in November. As a result, sales should get a boost, Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen said, as quoted by Bloomberg in its coverage of the news.

Specifically, CMS approved reimbursement of transcatheter aortic valve replacement therapy when the device is used to treat symptomatic aortic valve stenosis. The coverage determination is flexible and authorizes current and future FDA approved indications, the company notes, as well as coverage for clinical studies.

About 300,000 U.S. patients suffer from deterioration of the aortic heart valve, which forces the heart to work harder to pump blood, often leading to heart failure, blood clots and sudden death. More than half of patients diagnosed with the condition, called aortic stenosis, die within two years, according to the FDA. Every year about 50,000 people in the U.S. undergo open-heart surgery to replace the valve, which involves sawing the breastbone in half, stopping the heart, cutting out the old valve and sewing a new one into place. Thousands of other patients are turned away, deemed too old or ill to survive the operation.

The Sapien valve is usually threaded through the femoral artery via a small incision in the leg, and then guided up to the heart via catheter. An alternate procedure inserts the valve through a small incision between the ribs. The valve is then wedged into the aortic opening by an inflatable balloon, replacing the natural heart valve. The device is made from cow tissue and polyester supported by a steel frame.

Analysts estimate as many as 70,000 to 100,000 patients per year could eventually receive the valve. In the most recent quarter Edwards reported Sapien sales of $121.5 million, with the U.S. contributing $41 million. For the full year Edwards expects sales of $530 million to $600 million.


Two cardiac surgeons must independently evaluate the patient first, and hospitals offering the procedure must have an on-site heart valve surgery program, plus a cardiac catheterization lab or a lab/operating room hybrid with appropriate imaging systems. And as Bloomberg points out, the guidelines limit who can conduct the procedure to a multidisciplinary team of doctors that must include at least one heart surgeon and interventional cardiologist. And those experts must perform the surgery at least 20 times annually to remain certified.

CMS also requires the heart team and hospital to take part in a post-surgery clinical trial, a national registry that follows patients who have the procedure for at least one year. This study will look at variables including strokes, death, heart attacks, kidney injuries, any repeat procedures and overall quality of life.

Sapien, generated $41 million in sales during the first quarter, the first full quarter the device has been on the market.


June 13, 2012 – FDA panel votes in favor of Sapien valve.  The FDA’s Circulatory System Devices Committee gave Edwards Lifesciences ($EW) a win Wednesday with a vote recommending the devicemaker’s Sapien transcatheter heart valve after an epic session. The panel voted 9-0–with one member abstaining–that the device’s benefits outweighed its risks, 7-3 in favor of its safety, and 9-1 for its effectiveness. The FDA will make a decision on the valve at a later date.

Earlier in the week, the FDA released a report showing the valve, which can be implanted without major surgery, significantly reduced death rates versus standard therapy in people with severe aortic stenosis. However, there was a higher incidence of major strokes and major vascular events seen in the group receiving the Sapien valve in a study.

Indeed, neurological events represented a major issue in the meeting, as heartwire notes, with several panel members pointing out that older, frail patients are far more concerned about strokes than death. Furthermore, mortality reduction with TAVI is, as the FDA terms it, impressive, but most treated patients die within two years. That said, panel members concluded that the benefits of transcatheter valve replacement in these frail patients offset the stroke risk.

“We are pleased with the panel’s strong recommendation for approval, and would like to thank them for their comprehensive and thoughtful review of the data presented from The PARTNER Trial. This represents another important step on the path to what we hope will lead to FDA approval of SAPIEN,” Michael Mussallem, Edwards’ chairman and CEO, says in a statement. “We would also like to thank the principal investigators and their heart teams at the PARTNER hospitals for their dedication to this clinical trial, and to their patients for participating in a study of a new therapy.”

Edwards has marketed Sapien in Europe since 2007 and could start selling it in the U.S. in Q4, 2012. Analysts note the worldwide market for heart valves could ultimately grow to $2 billion in annual sales, as the Orange County Business Journal reports.


The valve SAPIEN is currently approved for patients who aren’t healthy enough to undergo the more invasive open-heart surgery, which has been used to replace the aortic valve for decades. On June 13, 2012 – the implant is approved for patients who are healthier, but still face serious risks from chest-opening surgery. Many such patients are in their 80s and have complicating medical factors like diabetes.

Irvine, Calif.-based Edwards plans to conduct two follow-up studies to evaluate long-term safety as well as differences in gender outcomes per FDA panel on June 13, 2012.

Decision Memo for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) (CAG-00430N)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) covers transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) under Coverage with Evidence Development (CED) with the following conditions described in



 The Pay for Performance Philosophy at Edwards Lifesciences will support a substantial reward for the Chairman and CEO in 2012. His $5.8 Million in total compensation in 2011, occurred for a average of Five Year Total Stockholders Return of 301% while at the same time S&P delivered an anemic Five Year Total Stock Return of 89% per 2011 Edwards Most Recent Return: -11.8%, 42 percentile as reported in 2011 Edwards Annual Report. With the potential of EW symbol exceeding $100 per share in the second half of 2012, CEOs total compensation may move Edwards from the 36 percentile to the median in the Comparator Group selected for determination of Executive compensation at Edwards. . In the most recent quarter Edwards reported Sapien sales of $121.5 million, with the U.S. contributing $41 million. For the full year Edwards expects sales of $530 million to $600 million.

FDA’s broadening definition of patients eligible for TAVR to include other patients than the ones with aortic stenosis that can’t undergo open heart surgery, will have an immediate effect on the total cost that these procedures will bear by having the procedure been covered by Medicare and Medicaid. An increase in the Healthcare cost and its National burden is expected. Analysts estimate as many as 70,000 to 100,000 patients per year could eventually receive the valve.

The Procedure will have a major improvement in the quality of life of patients undergoing TAVR with a favorable impact on their longevity.

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Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
The Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve is an investigational device which is placed either through a transfemoral (RetroFlex 3 Transfemoral Delivery System) or transapical (Ascendra Transapical Delivery System) approach. The Edwards SAPIEN valve is being evaluated in the treatment of patients with severe calcific aortic stenosis who are considered to be high-risk for conventional open-heart valve replacement surgery.

Cohort A of the PARTNER (Placement of AoRTic traNscatheterER valves) Trial is designed for patients with severe calcific aortic stenosis who are considered to be high-risk for conventional open-chest valve replacement due to the risk surgery might pose to them. These patients may be eligible to participate in a new, investigational transcatheter valve replacement procedure that is performed without


Read Full Post »

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
The Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve is an investigational device which is placed either through a transfemoral (RetroFlex 3 Transfemoral Delivery System) or transapical (Ascendra Transapical Delivery System) approach. The Edwards SAPIEN valve is being evaluated in the treatment of patients with severe calcific aortic stenosis who are considered to be high-risk for conventional open-heart valve replacement surgery.Cohort A of the PARTNER (Placement of AoRTic traNscatheterER valves) Trial is designed for patients with severe calcific aortic stenosis who are considered to be high-risk for conventional open-chest valve replacement due to the risk surgery might pose to them. These patients may be eligible to participate in a new, investigational transcatheter valve replacement procedure that is performed without

Read Full Post »

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