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Saint Thomas Heart

TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement)

TAVR Diagram

The Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement procedures, or TAVR, is a relatively new technology for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not candidates for conventional open heart surgery, due to multiple existing health factors. This procedure, not available even five years ago, dramatically reduces the risk to heart patients and offers a new option for people who previously were not good surgical candidates, due to the high risk.

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in a unique, hybrid operating room that uses the most advanced imaging equipment available today. The surgery is performed on a beating heart with a catheter that is inserted through the groin, carrying the new valve to the heart. TAVR does not require patients to have a chest incision or cardio-pulmonary bypass. Patients experience significantly shorter recovery times; in fact, they are awakened in the OR and most go home within two or three days.

These significant factors, which lower risk and increase the ease of recovery, can make TAVR a life-saving procedure for inoperable heart patients.

“This is a huge difference for patients. People who would not survive due to their severe aortic valve disease are doing great and we have great success with this program,” said Dr. Mark Stankewicz, cardiologist.

Patients who have a history of rheumatic fever, heart murmurs or symptoms related to heart valve disease should be seen by a cardiologist to determine if they can be helped with TAVR.