Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a new option for the treatment of aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a common heart problem affecting approximately 1 million patients in the U.S. each year. Although surgical aortic valve replacement is the gold standard for the treatment of severe aortic stenosis, 60 percent of patients are too high-risk to undergo traditional surgery. TAVR, an innovative minimally invasive option for these high-risk patients, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in November 2011. In 2005, Beaumont was the first hospital in North American to perform this procedure and currently is one of only a few centers in Michigan to offer TAVR.
What is Aortic Stenosis?
The aortic valve regulates blood flow from the left ventricle, the main pump of the heart, to the aorta and entire body. Aortic stenosis is a mechanical problem caused by calcium accumulation in the aortic valve. The narrowing of the valve leads to reduced blood flow to the body and increased strain on the left ventricle. Ultimately, this leads to symptoms including shortness of breath, chest discomforts and fainting. Left untreated, severe aortic stenosis can lead to death in up to 50 percent of patients.
The TAVR procedure
In TAVR, a stent-based tissue valve mounted on a balloon catheter is inserted into the body via a small incision in the groin or chest wall. The patient's original aortic valve is "pushed aside" and the new stent valve is anchored in place allowing unobstructed blood flow. The procedure requires the combined skills of an interventional cardiologist and cardiovascular surgeon, and is typically performed in a hybrid operating room, such as our new state-of-the-art Tyner Center for Cardiovascular Interventions . By combining minimally invasive techniques with the latest catheter technologies, TAVR is a non-surgical option that is less invasive than conventional surgery and is done while the heart continues pumping. Patients who are inoperable or are at high risk for surgical aortic valve replacement are routinely treated with TAVR at Beaumont.
Team-Based TAVR Procedure
Patients with aortic stenosis undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a multidisciplinary team in Beaumont's Heart Valve Clinic . The team consists of interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, advanced cardiac imaging specialists and cardiac anesthesiologists. Together with the patient, family and referring physician, the team makes tailored recommendations for each unique patient. Treatment options include:
- medical therapy
- balloon valvuloplasty
- minimally invasive or conventional aortic valve replacement