Matthew W. Sherwood, MD, is board certified in interventional cardiology, cardiovascular disease and internal medicine. He practices at the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute. Read Dr. Sherwood’s profile.

Starting in March, we began enrolling patients in a first-of-its-kind study to compare drug therapies for patients who have had transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. As part of the study, known as the GALILEO trial, we’ll randomly assign TAVR patients to receive either the standard drug treatment or a new drug combination.

This is an international study, involving thousands of patients and dozens of hospitals around the world. I’m hopeful that it’s the first of many that will help determine the best, most effective methods of treating our patients after correcting their heart valve problems with TAVR.

Over the last several years, the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute has become a national leader in TAVR. This minimally invasive procedure allows us to replace faulty aortic valves in the heart without the need for open-heart surgery.

While TAVR is a great option for many of our patients, there are important questions about how best to treat patients after the procedure. By participating in this study, Inova is helping to answer those questions.

A Balancing Act

Like any heart procedure or surgery, TAVR has some risks, including an increased risk of stroke. Following TAVR, we typically prescribe medications to help decrease that risk. For most patients, the standard recommendation is 3 to 6 months of aspirin combined with the medication Plavix, an antiplatelet drug (or drug that prevents blood clots).

The downside is that antiplatelet drugs can increase the risk of bleeding. As doctors, we have to do our best to balance the risk of bleeding with the risk of stroke to keep our patients healthy.

The aspirin-Plavix combo has become the standard treatment for striking that balance in most patients. Yet those drugs have never been studied in TAVR patients in a rigorous way – until now.

The GALILEO study will compare TAVR patients who receive aspirin-and-Plavix therapy with those who receive a combination of aspirin and Rivaroxaban, a new class of anticoagulant that’s already been approved to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.

We hope this study will provide clearer guidelines for how best to treat patients following TAVR.

A Leading Center for Structural Heart Disease

It’s an honor to be selected for a study of this kind, and it speaks to the fact that Inova is a major center in the United States for treating structural heart diseases, including valve problems.

The Structural Heart Disease Team at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute includes:

We’re committed to bringing our patients state-of-the-art care, and our participation in research is one way we’re working toward that goal. Learn more about the current research and clinical trials at the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute, or call 1-855-My-Inova (1-855-694-6682) to make an appointment.





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