Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a minimally invasive heart procedure and is an alternative to open-heart valve surgery in selected patients. It is performed to replace a narrowed or blocked aortic valve. In this procedure a new valve is inserted into the old damaged valve without removing it.
TAVR eliminates the symptoms of aortic valve stenosis like shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain and heart palpitations. Other benefits of this procedure include shorter hospital stay and faster recovery rate as compared to open heart surgery.
TAVR procedure can be done through very small openings without displacing the chest bones unlike open-heart procedure in which the chest is surgically separated.
The procedure is performed using one of the two approaches which include:
- Transfemoral approach: Entering through femoral artery in the groin without requiring any incision in the chest.
- Transapical approach:Making a small incision in the chest and entering through apex of the heart
To perform the procedure the doctor inserts a catheter into a blood vessel and guides it into the heart. A replacement valve is passed through the catheter and placed in the area of the aortic valve. Once the new valve is in place securely the catheter is removed.
During the procedure, all the vital signs of the patient like breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. are monitored by the treatment team.
After the procedure
TAVR procedure improves the quality of life of patients. After the procedure it is important to have regular check-ups with doctor and get imaging tests done to ensure that the new valve is working properly.
A heart-healthy lifestyle with healthy diet, regular exercise, weight control and non-smoking will help the patient to recover quickly and prevent further heart problems.