PARIS – Single-antiplatelet therapy with low-dose aspirin following transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) reduced the occurrence of major adverse events, compared with guideline-recommended dual-antiplatelet therapy (DAPT), in the randomized ARTE trial.
The TAVR guideline recommendation for DAPT with low-dose aspirin plus clopidogrel is not based on evidence. It relies on expert opinion. ARTE (Aspirin Versus Aspirin + Clopidogrel Following TAVR) is the first sizable randomized trial to address the safety and efficacy of aspirin alone versus DAPT in the setting of TAVR,
ARTE was a multicenter, prospective, international open-label study of 222 TAVR patients who were randomized to 3 months of single-antiplatelet therapy (SAPT) with aspirin at 80-100 mg/day or to DAPT with aspirin at 80-100 mg/day plus clopidogrel at 75 mg/day after a single 300-mg loading dose. Participants had a mean Society of Thoracic Surgery Predicted Risk of Mortality score of 6.3%. The vast majority of participants received the balloon-expandable Edwards Lifesciences Sapien XT valve. The remainder got the Sapien 3 valve.
The primary outcome was the 3-month composite of death, MI, major or life-threatening bleeding, or stroke or transient ischemic attack. It occurred in 15.3% of the DAPT group and 7.2% on SAPT, a difference that didn’t reach statistical significance (P = .065) because of small patient numbers.
ARTE was halted prematurely. The original plan was to recruit 300 TAVR patients for 12 months of follow-up. However, the investigators wound up capping the trial at 220 patients and 3 months of follow-up because of slow enrollment and withdrawal of financial support by the study sponsors. As a result, while all of the components of the composite endpoint showed strong, consistent benefit favoring SAPT, only the difference in major or life-threatening bleeding achieved statistical significance (see graphic).
All subjects were on a proton pump inhibitor. The type, timing, and severity of bleeding events differed between the two study arms. All 4 bleeding events in the SAPT group were vascular in nature, while 5 of the 12 in the DAPT group were gastrointestinal. All the bleeding events in the SAPT group occurred within 72 hours after TAVR, whereas 5 of 12 in the DAPT recipients occurred later. Only one patient on SAPT experienced life-threatening bleeding, compared with seven DAPT patients who did.
“There were two prior smaller studies before ours,” according to Dr. Rodés-Cabau of Laval University in Quebec City. “One showed no differences, and an Italian one showed a tendency toward more bleeding with DAPT. So, I think there has been no sign to date that adding clopidogrel protects this group of patients from anything.”
Discussant Luis Nombela-Franco, MD, an interventional cardiologist at San Carlos Hospital in Madrid, pronounced the ARTE trial guideline-changing despite its limitations.
ARTE was supported by grants from Edwards Lifesciences and the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute.
Simultaneous with Dr. Rod s-Cabau’s presentation in Paris, the ARTE trial was published online (JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2017 May 11. pii: S1936-879830812-9).