What is TAVR and Why is it A Potential Lifesaver?
TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) is an advanced, minimally invasive surgery used to replace the aortic valve in patients with aortic stenosis, a condition that causes the aortic valve to become narrowed, worn out or otherwise damaged. TAVR can relieve the signs and symptoms of aortic valve stenosis and may improve survival in people who can't undergo surgery or have a high risk of surgical complications.
The decision to treat aortic stenosis with TAVR is made after consultation with a multidisciplinary group of medical and surgical heart specialists who together determine the best treatment option for each individual patient.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A TAVR PROCEDURE?
The minimally invasive TAVR procedure uses a catheter to insert the new valve. This can be performed in a few ways through very small incisions, often in the groin but sometimes in the chest wall. Depending on the surgeon’s recommendation, the following options may be explored:
- Transfemoral approach: The surgeon enters via a needle puncture through a large artery in the groin (femoral artery).
- Transapical approach: The surgeon makes a small incision in the chest between the ribs and enters through a large artery in the chest or through the tip of the left ventricle (apex).
- Transaortic approach: The surgeon makes a small incision in the upper chest.
Patients who undergo a minimally invasive TAVR procedure experience less downtime, faster recovery and, often, a shorter hospital stay (3-5 days on average) than patients undergoing open heart surgery. Most patients begin the process of gaining their strength back and start cardiac rehabilitation within a period of days or weeks, which results in dramatic improvements in their quality of life. In contrast, open heart surgical procedures often require a total recovery time of up to three months.
ARE YOU A TAVR CANDIDATE?
When discussing treatment options with your doctor, be sure to cover personal health history if you have experienced any of the following:
- Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
- Prior open heart surgery
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Prior chest radiation
- Coronary artery disease
- Kidney failure
AORTIC STENOSIS SYMPTOMS
- Chest pain
- Feeling tightness in the chest
- Feeling short of breath, especially when active
- Unusual fatigue
- Heart palpitations
- Fainting or dizziness, especially when active
THE TAVR PROCEDURE AT ST. BERNARDS
Our heart and vascular surgeons and cardiologists offer all aspects of cardiac care. Our cardiologists are extensively trained in both the invasive and the noninvasive areas of cardiac care. Because each of our heart doctors and vascular surgeons is an expert in his or her particular heart care area, you may have an occasion to have both of these groups involved in your care.
To request a call to discuss your need for aortic valve treatment, call the St. Bernards Healthline at 870.207.7300 or fill out a Patient Call Request Form below and a member of the TAVR Team will call you.