Aortic valve stenosis is a condition in which the heart’s aortic valve narrows, reducing blood flow from the heart into the aorta (main artery in the human body). TAVR is a newer type of heart surgery known as transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).
The procedure consists of a surgeon inserting a catheter through a blood vessel to the groin. The doctor guides the catheter to the aortic valve and places a new valve without removing the old valve.
Doctors typically recommend less invasive treatments for aortic stenosis, most of which work by reducing the amount of work the heart has to do. These include drugs to lower the blood pressure, control heart rhythms, and eliminate extra fluids.
However, you may be a good candidate for TAVR if:
- Your aortic stenosis is severe.
- You are experiencing symptoms including chest pain, heart failure, fainting, and irregular heart rhythms.
- Medications have not improved your symptoms.
- You are at intermediate to high risk of complications from traditional open heart surgery.
- You are not a candidate for traditional open heart surgery because you have another serious medical condition, such as kidney disease, lung disease, or diabetes.
- You are not a candidate for traditional open heart surgery due to previous open heart or other heart surgeries.
Alternatively, you may not be a good candidate for TAVR if:
- Your valve and blood vessels are not the right size for TAVR.
- Your heart is too weak or you have other untreated heart problems.
- You have problems with your aorta.
- You have had a heart attack in the last 30 days.
- You have a severe illness or infection.
If you are considering TAVR, consult your doctor at length about all areas of concern. Your doctor considers different types of information in making a recommendation for or against the procedure. Your medical history, test results, lifestyle, and personal preference are all factors that will influence the final decision.