If you or someone you know has severe aortic stenosis, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) can offer new hope and healing. TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that replaces your damaged aortic valve with a collapsible replacement valve made from medical-grade plastics and bovine heart tissue. TAVR is less invasive than open-heart surgery, which requires a sternotomy (surgical opening the chest that involves a large incision). TAVR is sometimes called TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation).
Who is a Candidate for TAVR?
Our experts will evaluate your health and condition to determine if you are a good candidate for TAVR. Your doctor will ask about your health history and perform a number of tests to check your heart, blood vessels and lung function. Testing may include:
- Cardiac Catheterization – used to evaluate and potentially treat any significant blockages in the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries)
- CT Scan – used to assess valve size and access site options for your valve procedure
- Echocardiography – ultrasound used to assess the degree of valve stenosis and measure heart function
TAVR is an ideal option for a broad range of patients with aortic stenosis. Our physician team will evaluate and customize a treatment plan to suit each patient’s needs.
What to Expect During TAVR
During the procedure, a doctor will give you general anesthesia so you won’t feel anything during surgery. Your physician will insert a small catheter (thin tube) through a blood vessel in your leg. Your doctor will then thread a replacement valve through the catheter to access your heart and implant the new valve.
Once the new valve is in the appropriate position, your physician will deploy the valve which will then take over the function of regulating blood flow. You will now have a brand new functioning aortic valve.
After the TAVR procedure, you will likely require a short hospital stay – typically two to three days. Your recovery time will be reduced to days or weeks instead of months compared to open-heart surgery. Following recovery, most people find they can resume the normal activities they enjoyed before developing aortic stenosis with new found stamina, less shortness of breath or chest pain.
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You may qualify for transcatheter aortic valve replacement if your heart valve has narrowed severely and if other medical conditions prevent you from having traditional valve replacement surgery.