Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly (aortic valve stenosis). Transcatheter aortic valve replacement is sometimes called transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).
TAVR is usually reserved for people who can't undergo open-heart surgery or for people for whom surgery presents too many risks.
TAVR can relieve the signs and symptoms of aortic valve stenosis and may improve survival in people who can't undergo surgery or have a high risk of surgical complications.
Why transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is performed?
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure to replace the aortic valve in people with aortic stenosis. Aortic valve stenosis - or aortic stenosis - occurs when the heart's aortic valve narrows. This narrowing prevents the valve from opening fully, which obstructs blood flow from your heart into your aorta and onward to the rest of your body. Aortic stenosis can cause chest pain, fainting, fatigue, leg swelling and shortness of breath. It may also lead to heart failure.
Who benefits from transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)?
TAVR may be an option if you have aortic stenosis that causes signs and symptoms and you can't have surgery or surgery is too risky. For instance, you may be unable to have surgery due to other health problems - such as lung disease or kidney disease - that increase your risk of complications.
TAVR may also be an option if you have an existing biological tissue valve that was previously inserted to replace the aortic valve, but it isn't functioning well anymore.
Before TAVR, you'll need to be tested and evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of heart valve specialists. Doctors will evaluate your condition to determine the most appropriate treatment.
Risks associated with transcatheter aortic valve replacement
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) carries a risk of complications, which may include:
What to expect before transcatheter aortic valve replacement
- Blood vessel complications
- Problems with the replacement valve, such as the valve slipping out of place
- Heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias)
- Kidney disease
- Heart attack
You'll be evaluated to make sure you don't have any risk factors that may affect you during the TAVR procedure.
You may be given a medication to reduce the risk of infection prior to your procedure.
What to expect after transcatheter aortic valve replacement
Expect to sleep overnight in the intensive care unit for monitoring after your procedure. Generally you'll spend about three to five days recovering in the hospital.
You'll need to take blood-thinning medications to prevent blood clots after the procedure. Your doctor will discuss with you how long you may need to take these medications.
Your doctor will recommend that you take medications before certain dental procedures to prevent certain infections, as you're at higher risk of certain infections with a replacement heart valve. Talk to your doctor about his or her recommendations.
Results of a transcatheter aortic valve replacement
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) can improve the lives of people with aortic stenosis who can't have surgery or for whom surgery is too risky. In these people, TAVR can reduce the risk of death. TAVR may also relieve the signs and symptoms of aortic valve stenosis and improve overall health.
You may need to continue taking certain medications after your procedure. Take your medications as prescribed.
You'll likely need regular follow-up appointments with your doctor. Let your doctor know if you have any new or worsening signs or symptoms.