Transcatheter aortic valve replacement surgery (TAVR) is a minimally invasive aortic surgery to open the aortic blockage through the leg or through a tiny incision in the chest. Physicians replace the diseased aortic valve with an expandable heart valve placed through a catheter through the selected site.
During TAVR, the diseased transaortic or transcarotid aortic valve can be accessed through a blood vessel in your leg (transfemoral) or a small incision along your ribcage (transapical). A hollow tube (catheter) is inserted into your artery through the access point, and your surgeon will use a special kind of x-ray (fluoroscopy) to guide the catheter through your blood vessels to your heart.
When the catheter reaches the diseased aortic valve, the replacement valve is then passed through the catheter and the replacement valve is put into place. Once the new valve is securely in place, the catheter is withdrawn from your body through the original access point.
TAVR can be considered when traditional heart surgery presents too many risks, for example, if you have been diagnosed with advanced heart, lung, liver, or kidney disease. Not all patients are eligible for TAVR and your GCCSI surgeon will discuss the treatment approaches that are best for your condition.