If you or a loved one has a heart problem but cannot endure open-heart surgery (in this case, surgical aortic valve replacement), there is a minimally invasive treatment option: transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This procedure essentially replaces a thickened aortic valve with a prosthetic valve that enables blood to flow properly through the heart.
The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle (lower heart chamber) and the aorta (the body’s main artery, which takes blood from the heart to the organs and tissues). If the aortic valve doesn’t open correctly, it is usually due to a condition known as aortic valve stenosis – in which blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body is reduced.
Symptoms of aortic valve stenosis include chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and fainting. TAVR helps restore blood flow and diminishes these symptoms.
Let’s talk about TAVR placement, how it works, and where you can go in Boca Raton to see a world-class cardiologist to keep your heart healthy.
Why Do I Need TAVR?
Also known as transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), TAVR is an alternative to open-heart surgery that is easier on the body because it is minimally invasive. It may be recommended by your cardiologist if:
- You have severe aortic stenosis symptoms.
- You have an aortic valve that isn’t functioning properly.
- You have another condition – for example, lung disease or kidney disease – which makes open-heart surgery too risky for you.
Studies show that patients who have undergone TAVR had an overall device success rate of 95.3%, which indicates a very low rate of major complications or the need for additional procedures. Your cardiologist may work with other heart surgery specialists to determine whether TAVR is the best treatment option depending on your unique situation.
What to Expect During and After TAVR
Prior to undergoing TAVR, your cardiology treatment team will provide you with instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. This will include advising you on when to take your regular medications, whether they can be taken the day before or morning before the surgery, when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure, and asking you whether you have any drug allergies.
Before the procedure, a specialist will insert an IV and may provide a sedative to help you relax. You may also be given medication to prevent blood clots and/or medication to lessen the risk of infection.
The actual TAVR procedure involves replacing the damaged aortic valve with a biological tissue valve (one made with cow or pig heart tissue). The biological tissue valve may be placed directly into the existing valve.
As compared to open-heart surgery, TAVR is performed using smaller incisions and a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) to reach the heart. Your heart surgeon will insert the catheter into a blood vessel, either in the groin or chest area, and guide it into the heart using moving X-ray images to place the catheter into the proper position.
The replacement valve is then passed through the hollow catheter for placement in the area of the aortic valve. A balloon on the catheter tip is then inflated to press the new valve into its place. Once the replacement valve is secure, the catheter is removed.
Throughout the TAVR procedure, your treatment team will carefully monitor your vital signs, including your heart rate and rhythm, your blood pressure, and your breathing. Following the procedure, you may need to spend a night or two in the hospital, depending on your condition.
Although TAVR should improve your quality of life by relieving the symptoms of aortic valve stenosis, it will be important to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle after the procedure to help prevent further heart problems. Healthy-heart habits include:
- Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and low in salt and saturated fats
- Getting regular exercise under your doctor’s supervision
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Refraining from smoking and heavy drinking
TAVR Placement in Boca Raton, Florida
At Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute, our board-certified cardiologists focus on proactive and preventive cardiology to reduce the risk of heart disease and, thus, avoid the need for high-risk procedures. We are dedicated to providing our patients with personalized care to help promote ultimate heart health.
For more information about our heart and vascular services, contact Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute today at (561) 235-5621 and schedule a private consultation with Dr. Eli Levine or Dr. Michael Schechter. Or, if you prefer, use our convenient online Request an Appointment form to arrange your visit. We look forward to being your partner in heart health!