When someone experiences a blood flow obstruction in their heart’s aortic valve, they are diagnosed with symptomatic aortic stenosis. This is a threatening condition that requires immediate treatment. One treatment option is transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This heart procedure is less invasive than open-heart surgery, but still capable of repairing a damaged valve.
Also known as TAVI, TAVR is a smaller-scale procedure that uses a catheter to perform heart valve replacement. TAVR allows surgeons to access the heart without having to open a patient’s chest. Because of this, many consider it a huge advancement in modern medicine. By inserting a catheter through the skin, a new valve can be wedged inside the old, instead of completely replacing the diseased valve through open-heart surgery.
Who qualifies for TAVR?
Because open-heart surgery is still the preferred method for aortic valve replacements, not everyone is eligible to receive TAVR. The method is typically reserved for those who are considered “high risk” for full operation. This includes patients that have had previous operations, those diagnosed with lung or kidney disease and elderly patients. As research progresses, many expect that TAVR will also be available for “intermediate risk” patients in the future.
What happens after TAVR?
Compared to invasive heart procedures, TAVR patients tend to have shorter recovery times. As a general trend, many recipients are able to leave the hospital after only a few days. Like most health procedures, exact recovery time varies from patient-to-patient. This is contingent on factors such as anesthesia levels, valve sizes, and incision methods.
Though it may take some time to return the same activity levels experienced prior to the procedure, many recipients report a higher quality of life after TAVR.
When it comes to repairing your heart, open-heart surgery isn’t the only option.