What Is TAVR? A Closer Look at Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

At AMS Cardiology, we understand that navigating heart health concerns can be overwhelming. If you’ve been diagnosed with aortic stenosis, you might have come across the term TAVR. If you’re wondering “What is TAVR?” our blog aims to clearly outline this procedure and how it can significantly improve your quality of life.

Understanding Aortic Stenosis 

The aortic valve regulates blood flow from your heart’s main pumping chamber to the rest of your body. In aortic stenosis, the valve leaflets stiffen and narrow, restricting blood flow. This forces your heart to work harder, leading to symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and dizziness. 

Traditional Aortic Valve Replacement

Historically, patients with this condition have only had one primary treatment option: open-heart surgery. While highly effective, it requires a large incision and a long recovery time. This can be particularly challenging for patients with other health issues or those considered high-risk for traditional surgery.  

A Minimally Invasive Approach to Aortic Valve Replacement With TAVR

TAVR offers a groundbreaking alternative to traditional surgery. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that replaces the diseased aortic valve without the need for open-heart surgery. During TAVR, a cardiologist guides a catheter through an artery in the groin or leg to the heart. Once positioned, a collapsed replacement valve is deployed within the narrowed valve, effectively opening it and improving blood flow.

Benefits of TAVR

Compared to traditional surgery, TAVR offers several advantages:

  • Minimally invasive – Smaller incisions translate to less pain, faster recovery and a shorter hospital stay 
  • Suitable for high-risk patients – TAVR can be a lifesaver for those deemed too weak for traditional surgery. 
  • Quicker recovery – Patients often experience improved symptoms within days and can resume normal activities sooner. 
  • Reduced bleeding risk – TAVR typically involves less bleeding compared to open-heart surgery.

Who Is a Candidate for TAVR?

TAVR is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your cardiologist at AMS Cardiology will thoroughly evaluate you to determine if you’re a suitable candidate. This includes reviewing your medical history, symptoms and undergoing imaging tests to assess your heart anatomy and valve function. Factors influencing candidacy include:

  • The severity of aortic stenosis symptoms
  • Overall health condition
  • Anatomy of your heart and surrounding arteries

The TAVR Procedure at AMS Cardiology

Our experienced heart team at AMS Cardiology will guide you through every step of aortic stenosis treatment. Here’s a general overview:

  • Pre-procedural assessment: This involves a detailed medical history review, physical examination and imaging tests.
  • The procedure: Performed in a catheterization lab, TAVR typically takes 1-2 hours. You’ll be under either general anesthesia or conscious sedation.
  • Recovery: Following the procedure, you’ll be monitored overnight and discharged within a few days.
  • Rehabilitation: You’ll likely receive instructions on post-operative care, medication management and gradual resumption of normal activities.

Life After TAVR

TAVR can significantly improve your quality of life. You might experience increased energy levels, reduced shortness of breath and improved exercise tolerance. Regular follow-up appointments with your cardiologist are essential to monitor your progress and overall heart health.

Why Choose AMS Cardiology for a TAVR Procedure?

At AMS Cardiology, we are committed to providing comprehensive care for all your heart health needs. Our skilled cardiologists have extensive experience with TAVR and other procedures. If you’re facing aortic stenosis, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at 215-517-1000 for a consultation. We’ll work with you to determine the most appropriate treatment approach to address your needs and ensure you clearly understand your options.

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