TAVR (also called transcatheter aortic valve implantation or TAVI) uses cardiac catheterization (a thin tube) to place a new aortic valve in the heart without removing the existing, damaged valve. Your aortic valve moves blood out of the heart and into the aorta. A damaged aortic valve can cause blood to flow abnormally.
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When Do Doctors Perform Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)?
Doctors perform TAVR or TAVI to treat a narrowing of the aortic valve (stenosis). Stenosis happens when a heart valve becomes stiff or thick and doesn’t open completely. The narrowing prevents blood from flowing forward effectively. The heart has to work harder to force blood through the valve, putting added stress on the heart muscle.
Your doctor may suggest TAVR when:
- A catheter-based procedure is a better option for you than open heart surgery
- Symptoms don’t improve with medication
- Your aortic valve stenosis is severe with symptoms such as irregular heart rhythms, chest pain, fainting, or heart failure
What to Expect During Your TAVR Procedure at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican Hospitals
An interventional cardiologist or a cardiac surgeon or will perform your TAVR in a Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab (cath lab) at either the San Martin or Siena Campus.
Your doctor will insert a catheter into an artery, most often in the groin, and l feed the thin tube to the aortic valve in the heart using X-rays as a guide. Next, the doctor will inject a dye that helps your heart show up better on X-rays. Once the catheter is in place, the new valve will be put into place and activated. The new valve pushes the functional parts of the old valve out of the way. This is called valve-within-valve. The new valve now regulates blood flow.
TAVR can take up to three hours. Afterwards you’ll spend three to five days in the hospital.
Possible complications include:
The TAVR procedure is relatively new. Doctors are still studying how long the new valves should be expected to work and improve blood flow. When deciding if TAVR is right for you, keep in mind you will need to:
- See your cardiologist regularly after the procedure
- Take blood thinners for about six months afterwards
- Possibly stay on aspirin therapy for the rest of your life
To help reduce the risk of complications, cardiac surgeons are very thoughtful and deliberate when deciding which patients are candidates for TAVR.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican cardiologists perform interventional procedures, such as TAVR, in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.