While open-heart aortic valve replacement surgery is the gold standard treatment for severe symptomatic native aortic valve stenosis, there are patients who are not candidates for open-chest surgery. These inoperable patients may be unable to undergo traditional surgery because of factors such as age, history of heart disease, frailty or other health issues. For these patients, a new therapy called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) may be an option from Sentara Heart. TAVR is a procedure that allows Sentara Heart Teams to replace a diseased aortic heart valve without open-heart surgery. This procedure enables the placement of a balloon-expandable heart valve into the body with a tube-based delivery system (catheter), which allows the valve to be inserted through a small cut in the thigh into an artery.
Sentara Heart physicians will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether this procedure is an appropriate therapeutic option. In certain cases, TAVR may not be an option because of co-existing medical conditions or disease processes that would prevent the patient from experiencing the expected treatment benefit or because the risks outweigh the benefits. For those who are candidates for TAVR, this therapy may provide relief from the often debilitating symptoms associated with severe symptomatic native aortic valve stenosis. TAVR is a significant procedure involving general anesthesia, and placement of the valve is associated with specific contraindications as well as serious adverse effects, including risks of death, stroke, damage to the artery used for insertion of the valve, major bleeding, and other life-threatening and serious events. In addition, the longevity of the valve’s function is not yet known.