Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is performed to treat serious aortic stenosis. The aortic valve opens to let blood flow out of the heart to the rest of the body. This is a minimally invasive method of inserting a functional vale over the diseased valve to restore blood flow. It is meant to relieve symptoms of serious aortic stenosis in patients who don’t want to undergo open-heart surgery.
In most cases, doctors recommend less invasive treatments for aortic stenosis. These include medicines to lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, control heart rhythms, and eliminate excess fluids. Such measures minimize the amount of work the heart needs to do. If you are considering TAVR, below are some things you need to think about:
When to Consider the Procedure
TAVR can be the best option for people who have serious aortic stenosis and are experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, fainting, heart failure, and irregular heart rhythms. Those whose medications haven’t improved their symptoms should also consider TAVR. TAVR suits patients who want a shorter recovery time.
Your doctor may not consider you a good candidate for TAVR if your valve and blood vessels aren’t the right size for TAVR. If you also have very week hear, issues with your aorta, experienced a heart attack in the last 30 days have a serious infection or illness, you may not be a good candidate.
Your doctor can help you decide as to whether TAVR is a great option for you. They will consider various kinds of information to make a recommendation for or against the procedure. They will take into account your medical history, personal preference, and lifestyle when making the decision.
What to Expect from the Procedure
A doctor will carry out TAVR by inserting a catheter through a blood vessel in your groin, though some doctors use an alternate site beside the groin. They will guide the catheter to the aortic valve and place a new valve over the existing diseased one.
You will be under either conscious sedation or general anesthesia during the procedure. You may have to stay in the hospital for 4-7 days. Your hospital stay will initially include time in an intensive care unit. Usually, your recovery will include cardiac rehabilitation. Once you are home, you will need help with household and other everyday activities for a while. You will gradually get back on your feet and do activities you enjoy again. You may need six months to fully recover.