Medicare now will cover aortic valve replacements for patients whose aortic heart valves are damaged, if certain treatment conditions are met, the CMS announced Tuesday.
Through a mutual memorandum of understanding, the CMS and the Food and Drug Administration made a joint decision that will permit the CMS to cover transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. That technology is used to treat a condition called aortic stenosis, which causes the heart valve to narrow. According to the CMS, until recently, this condition could be treated only through invasive surgery. TAVR will allow physicians to replace a patient's aortic valve through a small opening in the leg.