Key Points about Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure that can treat aortic valve stenosis.
  • People who experience symptoms of aortic valve stenosis, who are at a high risk of experiencing complications from surgery, or who are unable to undergo surgery may be good candidates for TAVR.
  • Recovery from TAVR may involve staying in the hospital for up to five days and taking anticoagulant medications.

Overview

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR, is a procedure that treats aortic valve stenosis.

Aortic valve stenosis is marked by a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve, which impairs blood flow out of the heart and leads to symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath. In TAVR, the damaged or nonfunctional aortic valve is replaced with a valve made of biological tissue from a human, cow, or pig.

TAVR can improve symptoms of aortic valve stenosis, and decrease your risk of complications compared to other, more invasive procedures. You may be a candidate for TAVR if you experience symptoms of aortic valve stenosis, are at a high risk of experiencing complications from surgery or are unable to undergo surgery. Ask your doctor about minimally invasive aortic valve replacement options.

About TAVR

TAVR is a minimally invasive cardiac procedure that replaces a narrow aortic valve in the heart, in order to restore flow of blood out of the heart. The new valve may be made of biological tissue from a human, cow, or pig.

After receiving general anesthesia, patients undergoing TAVR will have a team of cardiac specialists insert a small tube into the groin or chest. The doctor will lead this tube to the aortic valve, where a replacement valve is inserted.

Candidates for TAVR

You may qualify to be a candidate for TAVR if you have aortic valve stenosis, and if you:

  • Have disruptive symptoms
  • Have a high risk of developing complications from surgery
  • Are unable to undergo surgery for some reason

Expectations for TAVR

Before TAVR, you will receive general anesthesia from an experienced cardiothoracic anesthesiologist.

During the procedure, your team of cardiac specialists will insert a small tube, or catheter, into the groin or chest. Your team of doctors will guide the tube through the incision to the aortic valve of the heart, where the replacement valve will be inserted.

Benefits of TAVR

TAVR can:

  • Improve symptoms of aortic valve stenosis
  • Decrease risk of complications, compared to more invasive versions of the procedure

Risks of TAVR

Possible risks and complications of TAVR may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Stroke
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Heart attack
  • Infection of the heart
  • Kidney disease
  • Infection

Recovery from TAVR

After a TAVR procedure, you will likely stay overnight in the intensive care unit and may stay in the hospital to recover for up to five days.

Your doctor will also provide anticoagulant medications to prevent blood from clotting.