Transcatheter aortic valve replacement has proven to be effective in adult patients who can’t have open aortic valve replacement.
When you come to the South Texas Aortic Center, our specialists will perform a full evaluation. We conduct a variety of tests to determine if TAVR is right for you, including:
- Electrocardiogram of your aortic valve
- Computed tomography (CT) angiogram
- Various tests to measure your overall strength
- Assessment of any existing conditions that could lead to pulmonary issues or stroke
After the tests, an interventional cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon will meet with you. If the team confirms TAVR is your best treatment option, you’ll be scheduled for surgery.
During the TAVR Procedure
We access your femoral artery in the groin through a needle or a small incision in the artery. Specialists pass a dilator and a sheath into one side of the artery and insert a small sheath with a pacemaker into the other side. They feed a wire through the artery toward your aortic valve.
After confirming the measurements of the valve, we perform a balloon valvuloplasty. Specialists use the pacemaker to speed up your heart rate to decrease the amount of blood being injected for several seconds. Then, they inflate the balloon and open the narrowed valve.
As your heart returns to a normal pace, we put a SAPIEN device in place. The device houses the valve and the balloon and passes through the valve into the correct location under X-ray guidance. We use the pacemaker again while inflating the balloon so we can secure the device. This process pushes your native valve into the heart’s wall to make room for the new valve.
The balloon is deflated and your heart returns to its normal pace. We use an electrocardiogram to check the valve’s placement and look for any leaks.
TAVR patients typically spend one night in our intensive care unit before being transferred to the recovery floor.
The benefits of TAVR are significant:
- Shorter hospital stays, since most patients go home within 2 to 5 days
- Faster returns to normal activities, often less than a week
- Improved patient outcomes after surgery
- Improved quality of life for patients that previously had no options