Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a nonsurgical procedure available to patients with narrowed aortic heart valves who are too sick to undergo traditional open heart surgery. Placement of a new valve through the TAVR method can make a huge difference in these patients' lives. Learn more about a patient who had a TAVR procedure.
TAVR involves inserting an artificial valve by guiding a catheter (tube) through an artery. The artery may be accessed through small incision in either the patient's groin or chest.
The following steps are taken in screening patients for a TAVR procedure:
- Echocardiogram: An ultrasound of the heart to see how blood flows through the heart chambers and heart valves
- Cardiac Catheterization: A procedure using a catheter with dye inserted through the leg or wrist to assess the coronary arteries
- TAVR CTA: A CT scan of the heart, abdomen and pelvis using dye to measure the shape and size of the aortic valve and blood vessels
- Physical Exam: Evaluation by a structural heart nurse practitioner, an interventional cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon
- Frailty Testing: A questionnaire and a walking test to help measure strength and quality of life
When the transcatheter approach is chosen, cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists work side by side to perform the procedure in a special, high-tech hybrid operating room.
TAVR is currently being used to replace stenotic aortic valves. Similar transcatheter approaches may one day be used to fix mitral and pulmonary valve problems as well. For many years, members of the CVI team have been leaders of clinical trials evaluating the safety and effectiveness of TAVR therapies. Today, the CVI offers every synthetic valve commercially available.