The TAVR Procedure at Methodist Dallas
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure to replace a damaged heart valve while leaving the old valve in place. Heart valves are tissue paper-thin membranes attached to the heart wall that constantly open and close to regulate blood flow causing the sound of a heartbeat. A normal, healthy heart valveminimizes any obstruction and allows blood to flow smoothly and freely in one direction. When there is a narrowing of the heart's aortic valve opening, it’s called aortic stenosis. calcium build-up, a birth defect, rheumatic fever, and radiation therapy can all cause obstruction and need for a new valve. This exciting new technology has been utilized in Europe since 2002 and available in the United States for the past ten years.
DO I QUALIFY?
TAVR is for patients who have been diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis and is an alternative to open heart surgery for many patients. A cardiologist will do a series of tests such as a chest X-ray, echo, angiogram, and others to determine the severity of the stenosis and if surgery or TAVR is the right treatment. As much as possible, we schedule tests at the Methodist facility closest to you.
HOW DOES TAVR WORK?
During the 1-2 hour-long procedure, an interventional cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon, and TAVR team work together in the operating room to thread the catheter up the femoral artery in the groin to the heart. Doctors can also make an incision in the lower left side of a patient’s chest under the rib cage, or in the upper chest to access the heart. The new valve is crimped down to the approximate diameter of a pencil and placed on a catheter. Once in the heart chamber, the new valve is positioned directly inside the aging aortic valve where the catheter balloon is inflated to secure it in place. The valve will begin to work immediately functioning like a normal, healthy valve.
Patients usually stay in the hospital for a few days to make sure the new valve is working properly, but recovery is generally pretty easy and outcomes are very good. Methodist Health System began offering TAVR to patients who qualified in April 2016. So far, all cases have been done at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE
Patients may be taken to the ICU or directly to a hospital room. Doctors and the care team will give patients specific instructions to help with recovery, which may include a special diet, exercise, and medicine. Regular check-ups with are very important. Call or see your doctor whenever you have questions or concerns about your health, especially if you experience any unusual problems such as bleeding, pain, other discomfort, or changes in your overall health.
To see if TAVR might be right for you, contact your physician or call us at 1-844-852-7040 for more information about our comprehensive cardiology services.