Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a procedure for select patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis - a narrowing of the aortic valve opening.
While open-heart aortic valve replacement surgery is the standard treatment for severe symptomatic aortic stenosis, there are patients who are not candidates for open surgery. These inoperable or extremely high-risk patients may be unable to undergo traditional surgery because of factors such as age, history of heart disease, frailty or other health issues.
For these patients, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, may be an option. The TAVR procedure allows physicians to replace a diseased aortic valve without open-heart surgery. TAVR enables the placement of a heart valve into the body with a catheter, which allows the valve to be inserted through a small incision into an artery.
How it's done
The TAVR valve that will open and close to regulate the flow of blood is made of a bovine (cow) heart valve stitched inside of an expandable stainless steel scaffold, or stent.
The TAVR procedure is performed under general anesthesia, in a hybrid operating room. A cardiothoracic surgeon, an interventional cardiologist and a clinic coordinator work together, utilizing fluoroscopy and echocardiography to guide the valve to the site of the patient's diseased heart valve.
The most exciting aspect of the TAVR procedure is that it provides hope when there were no previous options. The transcatheter (TAVR) valve offers some patients the potential of a longer life with better quality. The TAVR procedure generally is performed in much less time than open-heart surgery. Additionally, open-heart surgery can require a two- to three-month recovery period, compared to the recovery period of only a few days with the transcatheter (TAVR) approach.
All potential candidates will be assessed and educated by our specially trained team, consisting of a cardiothoracic surgeon, an interventional cardiologist and a clinic coordinator. Together they will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether the TAVR procedure is an appropriate option for the patient.
Broward Health Medical Center provides the most advanced valve replacement surgeries and treatments using a multidisciplinary approach. Our structural heart program regularly handles the most complex cases in the region with excellent outcomes, including the TAVR valve replacement.
Who to contact
If you are a referring physician or patient and would like to more information about the TAVR procedure or the structural heart program at Broward Health Medical Center, please contact us at:
Broward Heart Valve Center
1625 SE 3rd Ave | Suite 300
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Severe aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening that allows blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. In elderly patients, severe aortic stenosis is caused by calcium build-up on the leaflets of the aortic valve, causing them to become stiff. This reduces the pumping ability of the heart to push blood through the aortic valve to your body. The heart gets weaker increasing the chances of developing heart failure. Without treatment, about two thirds of patients who develop severe aortic stenosis die within an average of two years.
During the TAVR procedure, the new valve is crimped down to the approximate diameter of a pencil and placed on a catheter. A small incision is made in the groin, and the catheter is fed through the femoral artery to the heart, much like an angioplasty procedure. Once in the heart chamber, the new valve is positioned directly inside the diseased aortic valve where the catheter balloon is inflated to secure the valve in place. The TAVR valve will begin to work immediately, functioning like a normal, healthy valve.