Heart & Vascular Center - The TAVR Procedure
Until now, patients with severe aortic stenosis have had to give up much of what makes life enjoyable. But a new procedure at JFK, called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), means they won’t have to give up hope.
JFK is part of a select group of hospitals in the U.S. approved to offer this promising new procedure for those considered too high risk for traditional heart valve replacement, or those who were previously considered inoperable. Cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists at JFK Medical Center are among the first in the United States, and the first in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, to perform the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure (TAVR).
Aortic stenosis occurs when the aorta, the main artery pumping blood from the heart, narrows or stops opening fully. This will initially cause a decrease in blood flow, chest pain, weakness, or fainting. Aortic stenosis left untreated can eventually result in further complications and fatalities. Around 30 percent of patients with this condition are ineligible for surgery, because of either ill health or old age. In these cases, noninvasive solutions are vital.
During a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, the doctor will run a catheter into the patient’s groin, moving it up the femoral artery toward the heart, eventually reaching the aortic valve. A balloon will inflate, opening the narrow valve, and a new valve will be implanted.
Although patients will need to remain in the hospital for a couple days following the replacement, the actual procedure typically takes less than an hour to complete. Compared to a lengthy heart surgery, and a recovery that spans several months, the transcatheter aortic valve replacement demands a much smaller interruption of life activities.
The crucial time window following a transcatheter aortic valve replacement is 30 days. During this time, patients have a higher risk of strokes and vascular disorders. Bleeding problems could also be a concern, but these instances occur more frequently with those who have undergone traditional heart surgery. Despite the risks, the development of this noninvasive valve replacement has dramatically improved the survival chances of those with aortic stenosis. So far, recovery rates have matched those of traditional surgery, while dramatically surpassing other noninvasive procedures.
To learn more about TAVR, or to see whether you’re a candidate for the procedure, please contact us at (800) 616-1927.