What Patients Should Know About TAVR

Doctor and patient discussing medical record in the hospital

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, is a relatively new procedure for patients suffering from aortic stenosis. TAVR is minimally invasive and can be effective for many patients who cannot undergo traditional valve replacement. If your cardiologist has recommended that you have a TAVR procedure, here is what you need to know.

What Is TAVR?

TAVR is an alternative to full aortic valve replacement. During TAVR, your cardiologist will place an artificial valve inside of your existing, damaged valve, rather than removing the old valve. The valve is then expanded, pushing the old valve out of the way, so that blood will now flow through the new valve. The replacement valve will then regulate blood flow. The idea behind TAVR is similar to placing a stent in a clogged artery. Patients may also hear TAVR referred to as TAVI, which stands for transcatheter aortic valve implantation.

What Happens During the Procedure?

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure, unlike traditional valve replacement, which requires open heart surgery. Your cardiologist will determine whether to approach the valve via the femoral artery in the groin or via a small incision through the chest. The valve is then guided to the appropriate location. After the procedure, patients usually require a three to five day hospital stay.

Who Is a Good Candidate?

TAVR is recommended for patients who cannot have open heart surgery. Most patients who undergo TAVR are elderly and have medical conditions that make surgery too risky. For these patients, TAVR offers a treatment option for valve damage where none was previously available.

Is TAVR right for you? Schedule a consultation at the heart hospital at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center to find out. Our cardiology specialists can help you get the right diagnosis and find the best treatments for your needs. For a referral, talk to your physician or call us in Thousand Oaks today at (805) 497-2727. 

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