Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
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If you've been diagnosed with aortic stenosis, you likely already know this condition occurs when there is narrowing or obstruction of the aortic heart valve. This impairs the valve’s ability to open and close properly, impairing blood flow. When the leaflets are unable to fully open, the heart must work harder to push blood through the calcified aortic valve. Eventually, the heart muscle weakens, increasing the risk of heart failure. There are options to consider when it comes to aortic stenosis treatment.
If you are at intermediate or high risk for open heart aortic valve replacement surgery (known as Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement, or SAVR), Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) may be an option for you.
During the TAVR procedure, a prosthetic valve is delivered to the heart with a catheter, guided by x-ray and ultrasound. This procedure is less invasive and typically associated with a shorter hospital stay than with traditional, open heart surgery. Typically, a small plastic tube, called a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery, through this the new valve is delivered.
Additionally, Balloon Aortic Valvuloplasty (BAV) remains a therapeutic option for relief of aortic stenosis symptoms. This is most often used as an interim or bridge treatment for patients who require non-cardiac surgery or treatment of other medical conditions. BAV has palliative benefits, but is not a permanent solution.
Our Heart Team will meet with you individually to evaluate your condition and determine the best course of treatment.
Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort
- Fatigue or “slowing down”
- Lightheadedness, dizziness and/or fainting
- Swollen ankles and feet
- Difficulty walking short distances
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat/palpitations
- Need to sleep sitting upright instead of lying flat in bed
TAVR Procedure at Stamford Hospital
You will meet with the Valve Clinical Coordinator the week before your procedure who will confirm the date and time of your procedure. During this meeting you will be provided with detailed instructions, including the medications to take or hold the day prior and day of your procedure. You will also have blood tests and a urine sample on this day as well.
You will already be pre-registered prior to arrival to the hospital. You will be brought to a prep/holding area where a registered nurse will prepare you for your procedure. You will be seen by a cardiac anesthesiologist at this time as well.
You will then be brought into the procedure room; your family will be given instructions on the location of the waiting area. The procedure typically takes 1 – 2 hours. Your family and/or friends will be updated as soon as the procedure is completed.
On average patients can expect to remain in the hospital for a total of 2 – 3 days. However, depending on your overall health, some patients are able to return home in as early as 1 day.
Most of our patients are able to return to their own home with the support of their family and friends. Start planning for your return home once you know you will be having a TAVR procedure. We suggest you arrange to have someone stay with you for the first few days you are home to help you recover. After returning home we recommend that you attend a supervised exercise program called Cardiac Rehabilitation. This program is available at the Tully Health Center.
The majority of your follow-up care will likely be managed by your primary cardiologist or primary care physician. You will need to return to the Valve Center for several follow-up appointments. We will coordinate these with you.