Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat severe aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a condition characterized by the narrowing of the aortic valve, the main valve that controls blood flow from the heart's left ventricle to the rest of the body. As the valve narrows, it restricts blood flow and causes the heart to work harder to pump blood.
TAVR involves the insertion of a new aortic valve without the need for open-heart surgery. Typically, a catheter is inserted through a small incision in the groin or chest and guided to the heart, where the new valve is positioned and expanded, pushing aside the old, damaged valve. The new valve takes over the function of regulating blood flow and relieves symptoms associated with aortic stenosis, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain.
This procedure is usually reserved for patients who are considered high-risk or unable to undergo traditional open-heart surgery. TAVR offers a viable alternative for these patients, as it is less invasive, resulting in reduced recovery time and potential complications. Additionally, TAVR can be performed under local anesthesia or mild sedation, further diminishing the risks associated with general anesthesia.
While the procedure is generally well-tolerated, there are still risks involved, including bleeding, infection, damage to blood vessels, stroke, and potential complications with the new valve. Thus, careful patient selection and close monitoring during and after the TAVR procedure are crucial to ensuring successful outcomes.