Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
What is TAVR?
TAVR is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to repair the heart valve without removing the old, damaged valve. Instead, it wedges a replacement valve into the aortic valve's place.
Similar to a stent placed in an artery, the TAVR approach delivers a fully collapsible replacement valve to the valve site through a catheter. Once the valve is expanded, it pushed the old valve out of the way out of the way and the tissue in the replacement valve takes over the job regulating blood flow.
How is TAVR different from standard valve replacement?
Usually, valve replacement requires an open heart procedure in which the chest is surgical separate (open) for the procedure. The TAVR procedure can be done through very small openings that leave all the chest bones in place.
A TAVR procedure is not without risks, but it provides beneficial treatment options to people who may not have been candidates for them a few years ago while also providing the added bonus of a faster recovery in most cases. A patient's experience with a TAVR procedure may be comparable to a balloon treatment or even an angiogram in terms of downtime and recovery, and will likely require a shorter hospital stay (average 3-5 days).