What is TAVR?
“I had my life saved here.”
- TAVR stands for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
- During a TAVR procedure, a flexible device (a catheter) is used to replace a heart valve
- The catheter is inserted into a tiny opening in the leg or chest
- Then a interventionalist gently maneuvers it into the beating heart and uses it to repair the valve
- Unlike traditional surgery, TAVR can be performed while the heart is still beating and without surgically separating the breastbone.
- TAVR is the safest option for patients who are too old or too sick for traditional open heart surgery.
- Valves replaced with TAVR perform better than valves replaced with traditional open heart surgery, according to a trial of more than 2,000 patients.
- Patients usually feel better immediately, and are discharged in two to three days.
- TAVR is FDA approved for people with symptomatic aortic stenosis and who are considered to be a high risk for standard valve replacement surgery.
- It’s reserved for people who cannot undergo traditional open-heart surgery.
- It’s safe for people who are well into their 80s and 90s.
Is TAVR Right for You?
Right now, TAVR is reserved for people who cannot undergo traditional open chest surgery due to their age or health. Physicians perform a series of tests to determine if patients will benefit from this procedure. These tests include:
- Confirmation of a patient’s diagnosis by two cardiac surgeons
- An echocardiogram of a patient’s heart to determine the size of the patient’s aortic valve
- A special CT scan to get a closer look at a patient’s heart valve
- A diagnostic cardiac catheterization to assess the condition of a patient’s coronary arteries
At many hospitals, these tests can take several months to complete. At Lourdes Cardiovascular Institute, they can be done in a few days to weeks.