Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

Advanced Treatment for Aortic Stenosis

If you have aortic stenosis, you’ve experienced its profound effects firsthand. Symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain are likely part of your daily life. If you’re not a candidate for traditional open valve replacement surgery, an advanced surgical option is available for patients with aortic stenosis. The procedure is called transcatheter aortic valve replacement or, more commonly, TAVR.

The Heart Valve Center is your comprehensive resource for cardiovascular care, including many heart valve repair and replacement therapies like TAVR. Our care begins at your first consultation. We guide you through the testing and diagnosis your condition. We provide treatments that work best for you and review your condition during follow-up appointments to get your heart functioning at the highest level possible.

Why TAVR May Be an Option for You

Our multidisciplinary team treats certain patients with critical aortic stenosis with TAVR. This valve replacement treatment uses a collapsible aortic heart valve in adult patients who can’t tolerate other surgical options.

Who Qualifies for the TAVR Procedure?

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 Heart Valve Center with an aortic stenosis condition, 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

How TAVR Works

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 deliver the SAPIEN device. 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 to 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.

Your Recovery

TAVR patients typically spend one night in the Intensive Care Unit before transferring to the recovery floor.

Benefits of TAVR Surgery

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