Press Release

Study Shows TAVR Is Effective Option for Low-Risk Patients with Severe Aortic Valve Stenosis

March 18th, 2019
youngest patient to receive a TAVR at St. Francis Hospital as part of a major nationwide study

Findings allow for expansion of minimally invasive procedure in a larger and younger population- possibly helping them to avoid open-heart surgery

Roslyn, New York, March 17, 2019 – The findings of a study co-authored by two St. Francis physicians indicate that transcatheter aortic-valve replacement or TAVR is just as effective as open heart surgery for patients at low surgical risk. Of 1,468 randomized low-risk patients, 1,403 underwent an attempted TAVR or surgical procedure. The mean age of these patients was 74 years. After being followed for 24 months, their survival rates and rate of complications such as stroke were statistically comparable.

“The fact that these patients were monitored for two years and had the same basic outcomes is extremely encouraging,” said George Petrossian M.D., co-author of the nationwide study and co-director of the John Brancaccio Heart Valve Center at St. Francis. “Though we will need to continue to monitor the progress of these patients over the next five to ten years, the end result could revolutionize the treatment of aortic valve disease.”

“Open-heart surgery has been the gold standard for treating valvular heart disease and other cardiac conditions. But now we have a new option to compliment the ways we can treat all patients, some of them younger, healthier patients- and the initial results look promising,” said Newell Robinson, M.D., study co-author and co-director of the hospital’s Heart Valve Center. 

St. Francis was the first hospital on Long Island to enroll a patient in a previous study in 2011 that used TAVR for patients who were too sick or elderly to undergo surgery. The findings helped lead to FDA approval of the self-expanding device for an older population. Anthony Leto, who was 92 when he first received his TAVR, recently celebrated his 100th birthday and is “still kicking.”    

“This is a landmark trial for the treatment of valvular aortic stenosis. The latest study, enrolling many patients at St. Francis Hospital by Drs. Petrossian and Robinson, establishes that there is a less invasive option for all adult patients for the treatment of aortic stenosis,” said Charles Lucore, M.D., MBA, President of St. Francis Hospital.

Contact: Rosemary Gomez, 516-563-7965,


youngest patient to receive a TAVR at St. Francis Hospital as part of a major nationwide study
New Lease on Life: David Gerassi, a 66-year-old former pizza shop owner, is the youngest patient to receive a TAVR at St. Francis Hospital as part of a major nationwide study co-authored by Newell Robinson, M.D. (right) and George Petrossian, M.D. (left)


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