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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Leon Lasota, 92, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald in World War II, was up and walking around at Edward Hospital the morning after transcatheter catheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) surgery

Doctors on Edward Hospital’s Naperville campus perform Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), a minimally-invasive procedure to replace a patient’s diseased aortic valve when the patient is suffering from aortic stenosis but is too sick for open-heart surgery. Doctors can thread the new valve through a blood vessel and place it in the heart while the patient’s heart is still beating.

At Edward Heart Hospital, the transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure is performed in our Hybrid Operating Room.

What is aortic stenosis?

Your aortic valve is one of four heart valves that pump blood through your heart’s chambers. It controls the flow of blood from your heart to the rest of your body.

Aortic stenosis is a life-threatening, rapidly-progressing disease that narrows the opening for the aortic valve, causing abnormal blood flow.

Severe cases of aortic stenosis can be caused in older patients by a build-up of calcium on the aortic valve’s leaflets. The mineral deposits stiffen the valve so it doesn’t completely open and close. This makes your heart work harder, which weakens it over time and increases the risk of heart failure. The disease progresses rapidly and can lead to sudden death.

What does aortic stenosis feel like?

Aortic Stenosis makes your heart work harder, which can cause chest pain.

Other symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, feeling dizzy and/or fainting
  • Difficulty when exercising
  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations

Who gets aortic stenosis?

Aortic stenosis can be caused by a congenital abnormality, Rheumatic Fever or infection, but is most commonly caused by calcium deposits related to aging.

Up to 7 percent of the population older than 65 have aortic stenosis.  It affects millions of Americans, and is more likely to affect men – 80% of adults with symptomatic aortic stenosis are male.  

Without treatment, half of people with symptoms die within two years.

Risk factors include:

  • Increasing age
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking

Treatment options

Aortic stenosis can be treated with surgical aortic valve replacement (open heart surgery). For patients who have been deemed inoperable or high-risk for traditional open-chest surgery, TAVR may be a treatment option. 

What is Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement?

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a minimally-invasive procedure to insert a new aortic valve. Edward’s doctors can insert the new valve into the diseased aortic valve while the patient’s heart is still beating. An incision is made in the patient’s leg or chest and the replacement valve is threaded through a blood vessel to the heart.

Once it is in place, a balloon of fluid expands, allowing the new valve to open. The strong, new valve is secured in place by the leaflets of the diseased valve.

The trancatheter aortic valve replacement procedure can be performed through two different approaches - transfemoral or transapical. In the transfemoral approach, the valve is delivered via a catheter through the femoral artery. In the transapical approach, the valve is delivered via a catheter through the apex of the heart.

TAVR Patient Success Story - Lois

Watch the video below to learn more about the two TAVR procedures and what to expect if an aortic valve replacement is required:

How does it help?

The new valve allows for normal blood flow to your entire body and takes the pressure off your heart.  The procedure adds years to patients’ lives, and they should feel better soon after the procedure.

Who is a candidate for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement TAVR?

TAVR is meant for patients with age-related aortic stenosis who are too sick to undergo open heart surgery. Some common characteristics of a TAVR candidate include:

  • History of stroke, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Atrial fibrillation (Afib) or Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Frailty
  • Old age
  • Fatigue, slow gait
  • Heavily calcified aorta
  • Prior open chest surgery
  • Diabetes and hypertension
  • Peripheral vascular disease

For more information, call the Edward Hospital Valve Clinic at (630) 416-7796.  For information about services provided by Edward Heart Hospital, visit www.edward.org/heart

Videos courtesy of Edwards Lifesciences.


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801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

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