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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

More than one million people in the United States suffer from aortic stenosis. One-third of those patients are considered to have severe aortic stenosis, requiring an aortic valve replacement. Most patients are able to undergo open-heart surgery for their valve replacement, which is considered the gold standard. However, some are considered inoperable or high-risk because they may be too weak or sick for traditional valve replacement. Luckily, the FDA approved a procedure that allows those patients to receive a new valve without open-heart surgery and Missouri Baptist Medical Center is one of the few centers in the area to offer this life-saving procedure.

The transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure allows a team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to insert a new valve inside your diseased valve without open heart surgery. The new valve is put in place through a catheter that is inserted through the groin or between the ribs. The Edwards SAPIEN valve is the first and only FDA-approved transcatheter aortic heart valve in the U.S.

For more information on TAVR or to schedule an appointment at the Heart Valve Center, call Missouri Baptist at 314-996-3627.

The TAVR Procedure

During the TAVR procedure, the new aortic valve is inserted over a wire through a catheter that is threaded into place from a small incision in the leg or between the ribs with no open chest incision necessary. The diseased valve is first enlarged with a small balloon, and then the replacement valve is threaded through the vascular system on a balloon to the heart where high resolution X-ray and sonography equipment is used to place the valve in the right location.

Once the valve is in the right location in the heart, the balloon is expanded and the valve is deployed. Additional pictures are taken of the heart with X-ray and sonography to assure that the valve has been appropriately placed and is functioning properly. The groin is then closed and the patient remains in the hospital for continued monitoring. When the patients’ recovery is complete, the patient is then discharged.

Recovery

The TAVR procedure requires only a small incision and is less invasive than traditional surgery. That means the patient will likely experience a more comfortable recovery with less pain and a shorter hospital stay.

Following this procedure, most patients go home after about a day. Shortly after discharge, many patients are able to return to their typical routine tasks again.

Follow-up appointments with the surgeon will be scheduled for the week, month and year after discharge date. For other follow-up care, the patient will likely be scheduled with their primary care physician or cardiologist.

For more information on transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or to schedule an appointment at the Heart Valve Center, call 314-996-3627.

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