Transcatheter aortic valve implantation/replacement (TAVI/ TAVR) is one of the magnificent developments in medical science in recent times. With TAVR procedure, patients having aortic stenosis are able to get the valve replaced without having to undergo a open-heart surgery as was the case before.
In TAVR, a Transcatheter Aortic Valve is inserted using a catheter into the heart through a large blood vessel in your groin or through a small incision in your chest.
The valve is normally made of natural tissue from the heart of either a cow or a pig. The natural tissue is re-engineered and attached to a flexible expanding mesh frame. In order to implant it into the heart, the valve is squeezed around or inside a catheter. The catheter is then inserted and guided to the aortic valve opening in your heart where it is implanted over your existing valve. Once the new valve is implanted, the catheter is removed. The new valve starts working right away.
What conditions is TAVR used for?
- TAVR is used for the treatment of Aortic Stenosis. In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve opening is narrowed. As a result, the valve will not open fully which makes the heart work harder & reduces blood flow to the body.
- TAVR may also be an option if the patient has a non-functioning biological valve that was previously inserted to replace the aortic valve.
What tests are done to determine if I am right candidate for TAVR?
TAVR Procedure explained
Before the procedure
- Do not eat at least 6 hours before the procedure.
- Stop taking diabetes & blood thinning medications at least 3 days before the procedure.
- Do not drink any clear fluids like water and tea without milk 2 hours before the procedure.
During the procedure
The patient is given general anesthesia. A balloon catheter is inserted into an artery through groin or collar bone, which is advanced into the heart and placed within the opening of the aortic valve. The balloon is gently inflated so that the replacement valve is pressed in the place of the native aortic valve or a new aortic valve is implanted using metal mesh tube. When the valve is securely placed, the catheter is withdrawn from the blood vessel.
After the procedure
- The patient is monitored closely, in the hospital for any possible after effects of the surgery.
- TAVR patients are usually discharged from the hospital within three to five days, after the procedure.
- The patient is prescribed blood-thinning medications to prevent blood clots after the procedure & medications to prevent certain infections