Aortic Valve Replacement

Aortic valve stenosis is a serious condition caused by the narrowing of the aortic heart valve preventing normal blood flow. Currently, medicine can help sufferers feel better in the short-term; however, there is no drug therapy treatment for severe aortic stenosis. The only effective treatment for the condition is an aortic valve replacement. While replacing one of the heart’s valves through open-heart surgery is the most common treatment, for some patients, a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) may be an alternative.

TAVR is a procedure for patients who were previously deemed moderate to high risk for open heart surgery, allowing a new heart valve to be implanted. This procedure does not require the chest to be opened or the heart to be stopped. Rather, a valve is replaced in the catheterization laboratory (cath lab) using a sheath (a short hollow tube) inserted in the groin and through the femoral artery to the heart. A balloon is then inserted in the sheath and used to open up the narrowed heart valve. From there, specialized equipment is used to place the new valve in the patient’s heart. The new valve, made from cow pericardium, is custom fit using CT scans.

The benefits to patients? Recovery is quicker, patients are moving sooner, go home earlier, and re-hospitalization rates are lower. The procedure also results in a survival rate the same or better than open-heart, and improves the patient’s quality of life.

Anyone interested in more information about the TAVR procedure and who qualifies should call Covenant Cardiology at 989.497.4700.