Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

A Minimally Invasive Procedure to Treat Aortic Stenosis

What is Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement?

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive medical procedure used to treat aortic stenosis, a condition in which the aortic valve in the heart becomes narrowed and restricts blood flow.

What type of procedure is it?

TAVR is a heart procedure that involves threading a small tube, called a catheter, through an artery in the leg or chest and up to the heart. A replacement valve is then implanted within the narrowed valve, allowing for improved blood flow.

How long does the procedure usually take?

The procedure typically takes 2-4 hours.

When is it recommended to have TAVR surgery?

TAVR is recommended for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are considered high-risk for traditional open-heart surgery. It is an alternative to open-heart aortic valve replacement surgery.

What happens during Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement?

During the procedure, the patient is given medication to help them relax and local anesthesia to numb the area where the catheter will be inserted. The catheter is then inserted into an artery in the leg or chest and guided to the heart, where the replacement valve is implanted within the narrowed aortic valve.

What do you need to do before the procedure?

Before the procedure, patients will need to undergo several tests including: cardiac catheterization, thoracoabdominal angiotac, basic laboratory tests. They may also need to stop taking certain medications and fast for a period of time before the procedure.

What should you do after the procedure?

After the procedure, patients should follow their doctor’s instructions regarding medications, activity level, and follow-up appointments. They should also inform their doctor of any symptoms or concerns they may have.

What are the post-procedural recommendations?

After the procedure, patients will need to stay in the hospital for a day or two for monitoring and recovery. They may need to take medications to prevent blood clots and avoid strenuous activity for several weeks. Long-term care will require not smoking, a healthy diet low in salt and saturated fat, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight.

What are the possible complications, and how likely are they to occur?

Possible complications of TAVR include bleeding, infection, stroke, and damage to the heart or blood vessels. While these complications are rare, they can occur in some cases.

How long will you need to stay in the hospital after the procedure?

Most patients may need to stay in the ICU for 1-2 days for observation with another 2-3 days of recovery time in the hospital. They can return home typically within 3-5 days.

How long will it take to fully recover after the procedure?

Recovery time varies depending on the individual patient and the complexity of the case. Patients can typically resume normal activities within a few weeks to a few months after the procedure.

In conclusion, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement is a minimally invasive procedure that can be a safe and effective treatment option for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are considered high-risk for traditional open-heart surgery. While there are some risks associated with the procedure, they are generally low, and the benefits of improved blood flow can be significant. If you have severe aortic stenosis and are considered high-risk for open-heart surgery, talk to your doctor about whether TAVR may be an appropriate treatment option for you.

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