Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

A transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure (TAVR) is a minimally invasive surgery to replace the worn out, defective valves. This is an optional surgical procedure for open heart surgery which takes less time and has fewer risks associated with it.

TAVR can help with severe symptoms of Aortic Valve Stenosis, increase the longevity of people having higher risks of surgical complications. Aortic Valve Stenosis or aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart, which causes blood flow obstruction from the heart to different parts of the body causing exhaustion, angina, leg swelling, breathing difficulties. If this condition is not corrected on time, it might result in a heart failure or cardiac arrest.

TAVR technically involves three incisions to reach to the heart-

  • An incision in the Groin to access major blood vessel of the leg (Transfemoral approach)
  • Central incision between the Ribs to access the heart (Transapical approach)
  • Sideline incision in the Neck (Subclavian approach)

Through any of these points, a catheter is introduced to reach to the aortic valve. The movement of the catheter through these vessels is monitored by advanced imaging methods for correct positioning. When the catheter reaches to the damaged aortic valve, it is expanded to place the replacement valve at the damaged valve. After securing the new valve, the catheter is withdrawn from the body. Because of the implantation of a new valve, this surgery is also known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI).

Although it is less invasive than an open heart surgery, as being a surgical procedure, it does have few risks such as

  • Infection or bleeding
  • Blood vessel complications
  • Embolisms
  • Defective replacement valve
  • Heart arrhythmias

The replacement valve used for this procedure is a biological tissue, derived from a cow or a pig heart which makes it a relatively safer and hassle-free procedure. If you have gone or going through a TAVR procedure, few things should always be kept in mind:

  • Follow are a proper evaluation after the surgery to avoid risk factors
  • Proper recovery time should be followed
  • Any history of illness, medication, medication allergy should be discussed with the doctor
  • The doctors put patients on blood thinners to avoid clotting after the surgery. The dose should be taken as prescribed
  • A healthy lifestyle should be followed after the surgery

Overall, TAVR has shown to improve the life of the patients of aortic stenosis with a great degree with lesser mortality rates.