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Northridge Hospital is one of the select providers in the Los Angeles area to offer patients a minimally-invasive procedure for heart valve replacement. Called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), the procedure allows for aortic valve replacement without opening a patient’s chest. We are the first hospital in the San Fernando Valley to offer this procedure. Only professionals who have received extensive training are qualified to perform a TAVR procedure. Our properly trained and dedicated multidisciplinary heart team at Northridge Hospital will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the most appropriate treatment option for you.

What Is TAVR?

For patients with severe aortic valve stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve opening) and who are either too frail or ill for traditional open heart surgery, TAVR is a less invasive procedure to replace their natural aortic valve. A prosthetic valve is inserted inside the diseased valve while the heart is still beating and the patients does not have to be on a heart-lung bypass machine. The procedure provides both short- and long-term relief of aortic stenosis symptoms by restoring normal aortic valve function, and improving overall quality of life and life expectancy. At Northridge Hospital, our interventional cardiologists and their team perform TAVR procedures in our special hybrid bi-plane operating suite.

Learn more about heart anatomy, aortic stenosis, symptoms, risk factors and more.

Are You A Good Candidate a TAVR Procedure?

TAVR is approved by the FDA for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not good candidates for open heart surgery. To determine if TAVR is a good treatment option for you, we conduct extensive testing, and our TAVR team evaluates your results in order to determine the best way to treat your aortic stenosis. The decision is based on both clinical and anatomic factors.

Because TAVR requires only a small incision, most patients can return to normal activities within a few days, much faster than with traditional valve replacement surgery. You'll recover initially in the Intensive Care Unit where your recovery emphasizes walking and returning to normal daily activities as quickly as possible.

What Tests/Work-Up Can I Expect to Have?

To determine if you are a good candidate for a TAVR procedure, the testing includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Blood Work
  • Chest X-ray
  • ECG

Other tests that may be ordered include:

  • Pulmonary Function Test – if you are a smoker, currently have lung issues or are on O2 at home
  • Functional Capacity Testing

The TAVR Procedure

TAVR (also called TAVI - Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) is a minimally-invasive procedure that introduces the replacement valve via catheter and positions it without removing the old damaged valve. There are several access points, but most common is the femoral approach. Depending on your condition, your physician will decide whether to use anesthesia or conscious sedation for your procedure.

The replacement aortic valve is made from animal tissue supported with a metal frame similar. The new valve is put in place using a long thin tube called a catheter. The catheter is inserted through the femoral artery (located in the groin area), guided to the diseased valve and put into position. Once in place, your doctors will make sure it is working well, the catheter tube is removed and your incision will be closed. Despite the metal in the replacement valve, it is safe for use in MRI exams, X-rays, and will not set off airport scanner alarms. To view two brief animated videos on aortic stenosis and the TAVR procedure, click here.

What Can I Expect Before, During, and After the TAVR Procedure?

After all the work-up results have been reviewed and you have been identified by your cardiac surgeon and the interventional cardiologist as a good candidate for a TAVR procedure, and your surgery date is set, you will need to know the following information.

3 – 4 days prior to your procedure, a representative of our Pre-Admission Testing (PAT) department will contact you to review your current medications, give you instructions, and schedule a time for you to come to the hospital for pre-surgery testing. For information on what to expect, and instructions for the night before, day of, and right after your TAVR procedure, read more here.

How Do I Care for Myself Once I Go Home?

While still in the hospital, your nurses and the Care Coordination Department are planning for your discharge. They will ask you about your help at home, educate you about any new medications you will now be taking, provide instructions on taking care of yourself at home, and about appointments for follow-up care.

For information on incision site care, and your return to activity after, TAVR read more here.

What Happens Next?

Your recovery will happen gradually. Realize that everyone is different and your recovery may take longer than you expect it to. Enlist the help of a friend and loved one to assist you in the first few days following your discharge. They can help you manage medications, prepare meals and do light housework, run errands, drive, and attend follow-up doctor visits. Please note these two important items:

  • It is important to talk with your heart team if you notice a change in the way you feel or if something does not feel right.
  • Also, please have someone call the TAVR Program Team at (818) 700-5691 if you have to go to the emergency room or are admitted to the hospital within the first month following your procedure.

For other information you need for your recovery, such as your “New Heart Valve” card, preventing valve infections, follow-up care, a new healthy lifestyle, and finding support resources, click here. Your caregiver can find some tips on caring for you during your recovery by clicking here.

Learn More About Heart Care At Northridge Hospital Medical Center

For more information about the TAVR procedure and our Cardiovascular Center, please call Program Manager Carlyn Fostakowski, NP, at (818) 855-8500 ext. 5691.  

This procedure is currently performed at Northridge Hospital by Dr. Jahandar SalehDr. Aamer Jamali, and Dr. Vasim Lala.