Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
New Procedure Gives Valve Patients an Alternative to Open Heart Surgery
When aortic stenosis becomes severe enough, the only effective treatment
is to replace the aortic valve. Until recently, this required open-heart
surgery. But for some patients there’s now another option: Transcatheter
Aortic Valve Replacement or TAVR.
TAVR is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that has been growing in
use and is now part of the comprehensive valve program at Pomona Valley
Hospital Medical Center’s (PVHMC) Stead Heart and Vascular Center.
TAVR requires a team approach, with an interventional cardiologist, a cardiac
surgeon, an anesthesiologist, technicians, nurses working together. The
TAVR procedure requires a balloon catheter through the arteries, from
the groin all the way up into the heart, similar to a cardiac catheterization
procedure. The artificial heart valve is crimped on the balloon. Then,
while the balloon pushes the leaflets of the diseased valve back, a new
valve is carefully positioned, sort of like an umbrella. The tension of
the new valve keeps the leaflets of the old valve pushed back, which anchors
the new valve in place. The new valve begins functioning immediately.
The benefits over open heart surgery are dramatic. Instead of a seven-day
hospital stay, patients undergoing TAVR go home within 48 to 72 hours.
Because TAVR patients aren’t put on a heart-lung machine, they have
less risk of complications after surgery. And instead of a large scar
and several weeks or months of recuperation and rehabilitation, TAVR patients
have minimal scarring and an almost immediate recovery.
Not everyone is a candidate for the TAVR procedure; however, it is currently
approved only for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are moderate
or high risk candidates for surgical procedure or have other co-morbidities
or technical problems that make open-heart valve replacement less preferred.
Patients must also undergo extensive testing to determine if their medical
condition meets the criteria for TAVR and their arteries are large enough
to accommodate the TAVR catheter.
For more information on the TAVR procedure, please call 909.865.9858