Severe aortic valve stenosis is a condition in which the aortic valve narrows, making it difficult for blood to flow freely. The “gold standard” treatment for this condition is open-heart aortic valve replacement surgery. However, some patients are not candidates for open-heart surgery. A transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) may be an option for these patients.
TAVR: Advanced Heart Procedures in Virginia
Perhaps your doctor told you that you are not a candidate for open-heart aortic valve replacement. This may be due to:
- Your age
- History of heart disease
- Frailty or other health issues
The heart surgeons at Sentara may recommend a treatment option called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). The TAVR procedure allows Sentara teams to replace a diseased aortic heart valve without open heart surgery.
TAVR Procedure: Am I a Candidate?
Sentara physicians will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether you are a good candidate for this procedure. In certain cases, TAVR may not be an option because of other medical conditions that would prevent you from experiencing the treatment benefit or because the risks outweigh the benefits. We will discuss the risks and benefits with you, as well as any expected side effects. If we determine that you are a candidate for TAVR, this therapy may provide relief from the often debilitating symptoms associated with severe symptomatic native aortic valve stenosis.
TAVR Procedure: What to Expect
We will place you under general anesthesia before beginning the procedure. There are three important devices used for the surgery:
- A catheter, a thin, flexible tube
- A balloon, attached to the tip of the catheter
- A replacement valve, attached to the balloon
During the surgery, we will:
- Use a catheter-delivery approach through a small incision in the thigh (transfemoral) or the chest (transapical).
- Position the replacement valve inside your aortic valve.
- Inflate the balloon in order to open up the narrowed artery.
- The replacement valve expands, pushing aside the faulty valve and begins to function immediately, allowing blood to flow easily.
In this short video, our heart team explains what TAVR is and what to expect.
TAVR Procedure: Minimally Invasive
One of the main advantages of a TAVR procedure is that it is a minimally invasive procedure. This means that you experience less pain and a shorter recovery compared to a traditional, open-heart surgery. Our heart experts have the necessary experience and expertise to perform all types of heart surgery and will choose the approach that offers you the best outcome.