Has your physician recommended a transcatheter aortic valve replacement? If so, you may have questions about what to expect during the valve replacement procedure. Rest assured that you will receive the highest quality of care from our skilled and experienced heart care doctors.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Procedure
During a transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure, your interventional cardiologist replaces your diseased aortic valve with a new, replacement valve. Instead of opening the chest like traditional open-heart surgery , your doctor will make a tiny incision and thread a catheter (or small, flexible tube) through the groin or the chest wall to reach the damaged valve. The catheter carries an expandable valve replacement, which is positioned precisely within the damaged valve.
Once there, the interventional cardiologist expands the new valve, much like opening an umbrella, to fit across the diseased valve. This new valve acts as a brace that stays open permanently and restores healthy blood flow. During this valve replacement procedure, which can last from 90 minutes to two hours, the heart remains beating the entire time.
The typical hospital stay following a transcatheter aortic valve replacement is two to seven days. Patients need to see their doctor regularly following a transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure, to support ongoing recovery and proper medication management.
The transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure is currently available in a small number of hospitals. MedStar Union Memorial is one of the few hospitals in the Baltimore region that offers the procedure. This type of valve replacement is not right for everyone and is usually only performed on patients who cannot have open-heart surgery, are at high-risk of surgery-related problems or are not healthy enough for open-heart surgery.
Advantages of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement isn’t for everyone, but it offers patients who are too high-risk for open-heart surgery several advantages.
The benefits of transcatheter aortic valve replacement may include:
- Reduced blood loss
- Less trauma to the body
- Less pain
- Shorter time spent in the hospital
- Faster recovery time
- Smaller, less noticeable scars
- Reduced risk of infection
Learn more about a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR):
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement
- Who is a good candidate for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
- Aortic stenosis