TAVR and Severe Aortic Stenosis
Patients unable to have open heart surgery to treat severe aortic stenosis, a life-threatening heart valve condition, may be candidates for an advanced, less invasive approach called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Lutheran Hospital was the first hospital in northern Indiana to offer TAVR and one of the first 10 in the nation to receive transcatheter valve certification.
As a minimally invasive procedure, specialists are able to repair the diseased or damaged aortic valve for seriously ill heart patients who are at too high a risk for traditional valve replacement surgery. With the expertise of an interventional cardiologist and cardiovascular surgeon in Lutheran Hospital’s hybrid cath lab, the new valve is inserted through a catheter and can begin to regulate blood flow.
What is Severe Aortic Stenosis?
Severe aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve opening. This narrowing affects blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta and on to the rest of the body. As a result, the heart must work harder to push blood through the valve, weakening the heart muscle and increasing the risk of heart failure. In elderly patients, this condition is often caused by the buildup of calcium on the aortic valve’s leaflets, impairing the valve’s ability to fully open and close.
The TAVR Approach
For inoperable or high-risk patients, the valve is delivered by catheter through an incision in the leg while the heart continues to beat. The valve is expanded via balloon and placed within the diseased native valve. The frame of the new valve is very strong and it is held in place by the calcified leaflets of the diseased valve.
For high-risk patients who do not have appropriate access through a leg artery, the valve is delivered by catheter via an incision between the ribs. The surgeon has access to the bottom of the heart (the apex) while the heart continues to beat. The valve is expanded via balloon and placed within the diseased native valve.
Image of the transcatheter heart valve, used to replace the diseased aortic valve.
For more information, talk with your family doctor or cardiologist or call the Heart and Vascular Center at Lutheran Hospital at (260) 458-3500(260) 458-3500.