What is TAVR?
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement is minimally invasive surgical procedure. It repairs the valve without removing the old, damaged valve. Instead, it wedges a replacement valve into the aortic valve’s place.
Valve-within-valve — How does it work?
The TAVR approach delivers a fully collapsible replacement valve to the valve site through a catheter.
Once the new valve is expanded, it pushes the old valve leaflets out of the way and the tissue in the replacement valve takes over the job of regulating blood flow.
What is involved in TAVR procedure?
Usually valve replacement requires an open heart procedure with a “sternotomy”, in which the chest is surgically opened for the procedure. The TAVR procedures can be done through very small openings that leave all the chest bones in place.
A TAVR procedure is not without risks, but it provides beneficial treatment options to people who are may be at intermediate to high risk for surgical valve replacement while providing the added bonus of a faster recovery in most cases. A patient’s experience with a TAVR procedure may be comparable to a balloon treatment or even an angiogram in terms of down time and recovery, and will likely require shorter hospital stay (average 2-3 days).
Who is a good candidate for this type of valve surgery?
At this time the procedure is reserved for those people for whom an open heart procedure poses at least intermediate risk. For that reason, most people who have this procedure are in their 70s or 80s and often have other medical conditions that make them a better candidate for this type of surgery.
TAVR can be an effective option to improve quality of life in patients who otherwise have limited choices for repair of their aortic valve.