In many cases, valve replacement surgery is the recommended treatment for severe aortic valve stenosis, which is a narrowing of the valve that causes it to not function like it should. Often, this involves a traditional operation using an incision in the chest to reach the heart and replace the valve.
However, some with aortic valve disease may have other factors that prevent them from undergoing
open-heart surgery or that increase the risk involved in the operation. For those who need a new aortic valve but have these other factors, Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano offers a procedure to replace the valve without traditional surgery.
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is performed in the cardiac catheterization lab or hybrid operating room. During the procedure, physicians use catheters to guide the replacement valve from a small incision in the groin area up into the heart, similar to the way a stent is placed.
Physicians have imaging technology in the cath lab to help them guide the new valve to the right place in the heart. This depends on the valve type. Some we use balloons and some are like springs that open up when they are in place.
Because TAVR does not require open-heart surgery, the procedure usually offers some benefits over traditional valve replacement. Benefits may include:
“One of the main benefits of TAVR over traditional surgery is recovery,” said Srini Potluri, MD, medical director of the cardiac catheterization lab at Baylor Scott & White Heart – Plano. “Because there is no major surgery involved, about two-thirds of our patients are able to go home the next day.”
Currently, TAVR is approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for those with severe aortic stenosis who are considered intermediate or high risk for traditional valve replacement surgery. Candidates for TAVR typically include those who:
TAVR is not yet approved in those who are considered low risk for surgery or whose valve disease is not causing any symptoms. However, Baylor Scott & White Heart – Plano is involved in several studies to investigate the possibility of expanding the use of TAVR to these groups.
The PARTNER 3 trial is studying the use of TAVR in those who have symptoms and are considered low risk for surgery. Through the
Early TAVR trial, physicians are investigating the use of TAVR in those who have
aortic valve disease but do not yet have symptoms. Additional trials are studying the use of TAVR in combination with other procedures in people who are high risk.
“In the future, TAVR could become the first option in most patients,” Dr. Potluri said. “Even now, if you look at centers like ours, our TAVR volumes are more than the surgical aortic valve replacement for people with isolated aortic valve replacement.”
Hear a real patient story and learn more about
transcatheter aortic valve replacement offered at Baylor Scott & White Heart – Plano.
Physicians are members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Health Care System's subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and are neither employees nor agents of those medical centers, Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano or Baylor Health Care System.