Advanced Heart & Vascular Care
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
What is Aortic Stenosis
An aortic stenosis is a form of heart disease. Over the years, the aortic
heart valve, which allows oxygen-rich blood to flow out to the body, may
become stiff and tight, usually from calcium deposits. This can cause
fluid to back up into the lungs as well as lessen the blood flow out to the body.
Common symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty walking short distances
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting
- Swollen ankles and feet
- Rapid heartbeat
- Chest pain
- No longer being able to take part in physical activities you used to enjoy
Until recently, surgical valve replacement was the only treatment option
for patients with aortic stenosis. However, a less invasive, catheter-based
technique for replacing the diseased valve is now available called Transcatheter
Aortic Valve Replacement or TAVR. During the TAVR procedure, a long tube,
or catheter, is threaded into the heart via an artery, usually in the
groin. The new tissue valve is crimped onto the catheter and over a balloon.
With the guidance from X-ray and echocardiography, the new valve is guided
to and deployed over the existing diseased valve. The new valve begins
to work immediately relieving the symptoms of heart failure.
Recovery from TAVR
Recovery from TAVR is much quicker than with traditional open heart surgery.
The hospital stay is generally about 2 days. Patients are instructed to
not drive or lift anything heavier than 10 lbs. for 1 week. TAVR patients
must premedicated with antibiotics prior to any dental work for the remainder
of their life.
Specialized Heart Team Care
PVHMC is a leader in cardiac care. Hence, patients receive the same type
of advanced care found at major academic medical centers – right
in their own community. Our heart team is specially trained to provide
expert technology-based care that is compassionate and patient-centered.
Our program provides a dedicated Nurse Coordinator that will guide patients
through every step of the process, before, during and after TAVR.
Work Required for TAVR
Several tests are required to make sure that TAVR is the right procedure for you.
- Heart catheterization – to check for another cardiovascular disease
- Echocardiogram – to determine your heart function and degree of aortic stenosis
- Specialized CT – to determine the accessibility of the arteries in
your groin and valve size
- Carotid ultrasound – to check for potential stroke risk
- Dental clearance – to prevent infection of your new valve
- Cardiac surgeon consult – although TAVR is not a surgical procedure,
a cardiac surgeon is present during the procedure and is required to evaluate
your specific case
Besides your usual medications, most patients are required to take a blood
thinner for 3 - 6 months and aspirin for life. Patients will also be encouraged
to participate in Cardiac Rehab to further enhance the health and quality of life.
Benefits of TAVR
TAVR improves quality of life by alleviating the symptoms caused by aortic
stenosis. Patients report almost immediate relief of shortness of breath,
fatigue and chest pain. The short recovery time allows patients to quickly
return to self-care and activities of daily living.
PVHMC is committed to assuring the best care for our patients. Therefore,
we coordinate the follow up with the TAVR cardiologist and Nurse Coordinator
1 week after returning home, 30 days and 1 year following your TAVR. We
are just a phone call away–909.865.9858.