What is TAVR?
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive heart procedure used to replace an aortic valve that has thickened and cannot fully open (aortic valve stenosis). The aortic valve is situated between the left lower heart chamber (left ventricle) and the main artery of the body (aorta). Blood flow from the heart to the body is reduced if the valve does not open properly.
Valves are present in the heart to assist in regulating blood flow. For example, the aortic valve regulates blood flow between the left ventricle and the rest of the body. Additionally, the valve’s job is to prevent blood from returning to the heart in the reverse direction. Regurgitation of the aortic valve, on the other hand, may arise if the aortic valve does not operate properly. When the valves do not close completely, some blood can enter the heart. Aortic valve stenosis is another option. It occurs when the valve has been restricted and cannot fully open.
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When is it Required?
Thickening and calcification of the heart’s aortic valve can lead to stenosis, preventing the valve from functioning properly and opening fully, which limits blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, swelling in the leg and shortness of breath, are common fallouts and may sometimes lead to heart failure or even sudden cardiac death. Post examination and diagnostic tests to understand the seriousness of the condition, your heart team (of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons) may recommend TAVR depending on your medical history and other complications.
TAVR is Usually a Recommended Option if:
You are showing signs and symptoms of stenosis
You are at risk of complications from surgical aortic valve replacement or have a Kidney or lung disease that increases your risk of complications during surgical aortic valve replacement.
You have a tissue valve but it is not working well
Is TAVR a Risky Procedure?
No more than other interventional procedures. Risk of complications like bleeding, blood vessel complications, stroke and infections remain, they are, however, minimal and depend largely on the experience of the clinical team and the medical facility.
Infact, TAVR is a minimally invasive surgery that is known to reduces the discomfort and healing period. TAVR results are better than those obtained with standard surgical aortic valve replacement.
How is the Recovery after the Surgery?
Several factors, such as health and age, determine the patient’s recovery. There is no need to stay in the hospital for long after a minimally invasive procedure. Returning to work should take 6-8 weeks for a desk job. If your employment requires more physical exertion, it may take up to three months.
After the Procedure
One may need to spend the night in the intensive care unit for monitoring after the procedure. However, some may need two to five days recovering in the hospital. Our doctor will prescribe certain medications, including blood thinners, post the procedure and shall recommend certain lifestyle changes that are essential for the continuing good health of your heart.
- The patient will be able to resume usual activities gradually, but avoid heavy lifting.
- The doctor may suggest you participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program, which will be established for you by your doctors.
- Consult the doctor to determine when to restart driving, working, and sexual activity.
- Keep an eye out for swelling, redness, bleeding, or discharge in your groin.
- Notify your doctor if you have discomfort, fever, bleeding, or difficulty breathing.
- Consume a heart-healthy diet and keep appropriate body weight.
- Avoid smoking.