Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) and Aortic Stenosis
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly due to a valve disease called aortic valve stenosis. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement is sometimes called transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). TAVR may be an option for people who are considered at intermediate or high risk of complications from a traditional surgical aortic valve replacement. TAVR may also be an option for certain patients who can't undergo open-heart surgery.
What is severe aortic stenosis?
What are the symptoms of severe aortic stenosis?
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Light-headedness, dizziness, and/or fainting
- Swollen ankles and feet
- Rapid fluttering heartbeat
- Difficulty walking short distances
- Difficulty when exercising
- Need to sleep sitting upright rather than lying flat in bed
Unable to do activities that you used to enjoy
How is severe aortic stenosis treated?
In the past, the gold standard for treatment of severe aortic stenosis was an extensive open-heart surgery requiring the use of a heart-lung machine. Treatment options were limited. Today, a less invasive choice is available.
The FDA first approved transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in 2011 for certain patients with symptomatic aortic stenosis.
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is available at San Antonio Regional Hospital for patients who are deemed to be at an intermediate or high risk for open heart surgery.
What happens during the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure?
- Transfemoral approach: This is the most common route. Access is obtained through the large femoral artery in the groin area.
- Transapical approach: For patients who have small or diseased vessels, the TAVR procedure may be done through a small incision on the left chest between the ribs and into the apex or tip of the heart.
Transaortic approach: This method is an alternative option for patients who are not candidates for either the transfemoral or transapical approach. Access is gained through a small incision in the upper chest.
What is the process of qualifying for a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure?
- Echocardiogram: this is an ultrasound of the heart that allows physicians to evaluate the heart muscle and heart valves.
- Right and left heart catheterization: this procedure is often done through the wrist (radial approach) or the leg (femoral approach) to obtain measurements and assess any coronary artery disease or valve disease.
- Pulmonary function test (PFT): this screening test may also be done to check for any lung problems.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG): this diagnostic test is quick, safe, and painless. An EKG allows physicians to check your heart rhythm and any abnormal blood flow (ischemia) or heart muscle problems such as a thickened heart (hypertrophy).
- CT scan of the chest and abdomen: this specific CT test is designed to assess for calcium buildup and tortuosity (twisting) of the major arteries and valves.
How do I find out if I am a candidate for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)?
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