Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
At Providence, our heart specialists provide treatments that reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with cardiovascular procedures. These low-risk procedures, such as TAVR, are provided by our teams of cardiologists, heart surgeons and specialists with expertise in valve disease.
TAVR is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to replace a diseased and restricting aortic valve with a new valve.
TAVR is used as a means to eliminate aortic stenosis. As your heart pumps blood throughout your body, the aortic valve helps regulate the flow. When someone is suffering from aortic stenosis, the leaflets of the valve calcify and thicken. The expanding leaflets restrict blood flow, forcing the heart to work harder and exhaust itself.
Unlike open heart surgery, which requires opening the sternum and stopping the heart, TAVR works by replacing the existing aortic valve via a small incision in the groin (transfemoral procedure) or chest (transapical procedure). Because TAVR is a minimally invasive and low-risk procedure, it’s the most viable option available for those who cannot forego the risks of open-heart surgery.
Due to the laparoscopic nature of the procedure, TAVR allows for minimal blood loss and smaller chance of infection at the incision site, resulting in faster recovery times and shorter hospital stays. TAVR helps improve the symptoms related to aortic stenosis and immediately helps improve patients’ quality of life.
As with many surgical procedures, you will receive general anesthesia through an IV before undergoing your TAVR procedure. Your team of cardiovascular surgeons and heart specialists will ensure that the procedure is performed under the most suitable and comfortable conditions, monitoring your heart function, rhythm and health throughout the 1 to 2-hour procedure.
During the procedure, a small incision is made near the hip, allowing access to the femoral artery, which leads up to the heart. A catheter is inserted and, using imaging technology, is guided through the femoral artery and into the left ventricle of the heart, where the aortic valve is located.
Using a tiny balloon, the catheter inserted during surgery expands at the site of the aortic valve, moving the restricting leaflets from the passageway and unconstricting the flow of blood from the heart.
Once the valve opening has been expanded and the leaflets pushed aside, the catheter guides a second balloon to the valve site. The balloon contains a collapsible replacement valve attached to the end.
After the new collapsible replacement valve is in place, the balloon is inflated, expanding the valve and securing it in place. The new valve takes over and begins working to regulate your blood flow immediately.